Card from an Oil Painting by Barb Green
Available as a package of Christmas Cards or Notecards
Proceeds to benefit the Restoration of the Meeting House - contact Barb Green
The Stockbridge Meeting House
Located at the head of the Stockbridge Common
presently included on the National Register of Historical Places by the United States
Department of the Interior. This Historic building is located at the head of the town
common where the earliest inhabitants of Stockbridge first settled.
A Union Church Society was organized by the Congregational Society in Pittsfield
(neighboring town to Stockbridge) in 1812; in 1827 a separation was effected, and the
Rev. Gilman Vose held the pastorate from 1829 to 1831. The increasing population in the
vicinity brought a need for a local meeting house. In March 1828, Keyes himself leased
for $10.00 by indenture to the "Union Meeting House Society in Stockbridge" a small piece
of land in front of his former house (then owned by Dr. Timothy Fay, who witnessed the
indenture). The document refers to "a certain piece of land lying on the north end of
the Common so-called in said Stockbridge being the same which stands a new meeting house
belonging to (the) society..." The society was formed in 1827 after Stockbridge residents
withdrew from the earlier union society in the adjoining township of Pittsfield.
The reference to the "new meeting house" appears to confirm the date of its construction.
Other sources, however, give the date as 1836. The vernacular Greek Revival style of the
present Union Church strongly indicates the latter date, if not a later renovation during
which the paneled corner pilasters, eaves entablature, gable pediment may have been added
to the building.
The intent of the indenture document was "to convey so much [land] as shall accommodate
the said society in getting to and from the house and on which they may build a suitable
number of horse sheds for the convenience of the society while attending meetings at the
house..." The elongated one-story, gable-roofed horse sheds were constructed in 1837,
oriented diagonally to the south side of the church.
By 1876, the church had apparently fallen into disrepair. Several meetings were held
during the spring of that year to consider the repair or replacement of the building.
The decision was made to repair, and the work was performed during the latter half of the
same year; the slips (pews) were sold to raise the necessary funds. Following the
completion of the repairs, the church was rededicated in February, 1877. Three religious
denominations - the Congregationalists-Universalists-and Methodists- then held interests
in the church, and a director was elected to represent each society in the management of
the church's affairs. Enos Chandler was chosen director of the Congregational Society but
he was succeeded in 1878 by Harvey Morgan. James Baker was then director of the
Universalists, and James Bent of the Methodists. Also in 1876, the "Ladies Union Aid
Society " was organized; the group would outlive the individual denominations and become
the owner of the church during the twentieth century.
More repairs were made to the church in 1899. The Ladie's Aid Society took the initiative
for the work, which included painting of both the exterior and the interior, repair of the
shutters, and replacement of the front steps. Nevertheless, the church continued to
contract in membership and activity. Regular services apparently ceased after the death
in 1905 of Rev. Thomas Swan Hubbard, a Congregationalist who had served many years as
pastor (resided in the Keyes House, and had been Stockbridge School superintendent as early
An " Old Home Celebration" held during the summer became the principal event of the year,
attracting both current and former Stockbridge residents. The Ladie's Aid Society assumed
responsibility for the church building, having electricity installed in 1921. Two years
later, the Society formally became "the custodian of the Union church and its affairs".
Usage of the church dwindled to the point that it was closed during the winter months.
Summer services were conducted by ministers of the three denominations from nearby towns
or elsewhere. In 1941, the building was repaired and painted again. Since then, the
Ladie's Aid Society has continued to maintain the church although services are limited
to occasional weddings, funerals, or other special events such as Christmas carol singing
around an outside lighted tree, and gift giving to all the small children in Stockbridge.
Architecture of the Stockbridge Meeting House
The Stockbridge Meeting House remains remarkably intact and has statewide significance
as a surviving representative of both the architectural styles and historic trends in
Vermont. The Stockbridge Union Meeting House, located at the head of the Common, is a
beautiful example of vernacular Greek Revival architecture in Vermont.
Vernacular architecture is the practice of design and construction based on regional forms
and materials, unique to the state and or the region. The Meeting House building is a
simple, straightforward example of this type of architecture. Some character defining
features of the style include its temple front with closed pediment, rectangular form,
gable roof, and symmetry. Also significant are the stylized wooden trim elements such
as wide entablature at the top of the roof, cornice returns of the rear gable, pilasters
or engaged columns with capitals at the corner boards, projecting hood molding at the doors
and windows, 6-panel doors, and 7 nine-over-nine wooden sash windows. Although very
sparsely trimmed even for Vermont standards, the assembly of built-up flat boards on the
Union Meeting House is a clear reference to high-style Greek Revival architecture.
Presenting its temple front to the Common, the one-story, three-by-three bay, gable-roofed
Union Church of rectangular plan displays the basic elements of vernacular Greek Revival
style. The main (east) gable facade possesses twin entrances placed in the side bays.
Each single-leaf door with six raised panels is enframed by a stepped-out plain surround
below a molded cornice cap. the doors are approached by individual two-riser concrete
platform steps; these steps replaced the previous plank platform with end steps that
spanned nearly the entire facade. The central bay is occupied by a nine-over nine sash
with plain surround below a simple entablature; the upper half of the window is shielded
by a louvered wood shutter while the shutters for the lower half are left open. The
horizontal eaves entablature returns across this facade to enclose the pediment with a
blind clapboard tympanum.
The matching side (north and south) eaves facades are lighted three regularly spaced bays
of windows identical to that on the main facade. Each group of windows identical to that
on the west end of each facade, reflecting the interior position of the auditorium; the
entrance vestibule lacks windows on these facades. The rear (west) facade contrasts by
being blank, and possesses only short horizontal returns of the eaves entablature. An
exterior brick chimney bisects this facade, culminating in a corbeled cap.
The interior of the Meeting House exhibits the same simple, unadorned quality as the
exterior. The interior finishes are quite simple, wooden trim, wooden floors and
plastered walls, defined by seven tall windows. The interior space has changed very
little since the late nineteenth century. The interior of the church is partitioned into
a shallow entrance vestibule with a low ceiling and the auditorium occupying most of the
interior space. Three doorways lead from the vestibule into the auditorium; a double-leaf,
four-panel doors are aligned with the central longitudinal aisle of the auditorium and
flanked by single-leaf doors corresponding in position to the exterior doors. Free standing
wood pews occupy the main floor. The wood window and door openings are crowned by cornice
caps. Suspended from the center of the ceiling, an elaborate six-lamp metal chandelier
of Victorian style has been adapted from oil to electricity.
The building has survived virtually unaltered for nearly 200 years and buildings with this
degree of integrity are becoming more and more rare in Vermont.
Names of members taken from the 1st.& last page of the Stockbridge Ladies Aid Record Book
Mrs. Mary Chandler Mrs. Lizzie Whitcomb
J. F Chandler Miss Eva Chandler
Mrs. G. B. Fish Harris Holland
Edwin N. Whitcomb Mrs. A. L. Morse
Ella Amsden Reverent R. Haseltine--1914
Mrs. Haseltine Mrs. Nellie LeBarr
Mrs. Herbert S. Dean Mrs. Nellie M. Costigan
Harrison J. Costigan F. F Kezer
Reverent Percival Hewitt--1919 Mrs. P. Hewitt
Mrs. Charles Grant Minnie Leonard Morgan--1915
Mrs. Jessie Butterfield--1916 W. E. Butterfield
Bernice H. Putnam Ordway M. Faith Holland Whitcomb--1919
Reverent Maybelle Whitney--1921 Mrs. Clyde Hunt
G. A. Clough George T. Mills
Wm. Leonard Ruth A. Putnam Ainsworth
Ernest Ordway--1923 Henry R. Wilcox
Mrs. Gaius Blackmer Mrs. Hugh A. White
Reverent Hugh White--1925 Mrs. Julia Patno--1916
Mrs. Bertha L. Barrows--1915 Minnie Leonard
Ruth Leonard G. H. Martin
Mrs. Jessie Butterfield W. E. Butterfield
Adeline W. Green Pearl W. Green
Mrs. Julia Patno G. B. Fish
Sarah T. Maynard James Mussy
Lenna Mussy Mrs. Hulda Woodruff
Mrs. William Johnston Mrs. Henerietta Katham
Mrs. Albert Lary Mrs. J. F. Chandler
Miss Eva Chandler Mrs. L. U. LaFrana
Mrs. Blanche Mills Mrs. Charles Grant
Bernice H. Putnam May Spurr
M. Faith Holland Flora Race
C. A. Pinkham Mrs C. A. Pinkham
Mrs. E. A. Packard Mrs. Frank Forsha
E. E. Ordway --1923 H. R. Wilcox
E. C. Whitcomb Mrs. George Aubey
Reverant Harry Jenness-1923 Mrs. Harry Jenness
Minnie R. Sweet Henry P. Sweet
F.R. Ainsworth Stella J. Bent
Ada Mills Mrs. R. H. Holland
Mrs. J. V. Dutton Mrs. Mendall ( Ruth) Blackmer
Mendell W. Blackmer John V. Dutton
Iris Holland Angie R. Barrows
Rita V. Brown Maude L. Mills
Mabel W. Holmes Mrs. Diana Maxham
Mrs. Ralph Maynard Fred S. Bowen----1931
Bertha I Bowen Annettie Boutwell
H. S. Longley Mrs. G. H. Coffin
Mrs. R. H. Blodgett N. Robert H. Blodgett
Mr. G. H. Coffin Mrs. Alfred Chandler
Miss Myrtle Mussey Mrs. Roy Pratt
Mrs. A. Scambler Reverant A. H. Scambler--1931-1932-1933
Mrs. J. E. Wilson
Mrs. Fred Farrington Mrs. Ralph Bird
Mrs. Fred Perron Mrs. Ted (Marie) Green
Mrs. Eva Ascheuberg Mrs. Rix Williams
Mrs. Garold A. Rhodes Mrs. Fitzgerald
Reverant Fitzgerald--1931 Mrs. Clayton Mills, Jr.
Mrs. Henrietta White Mrs. Doris Olmstead
Mrs. Mary Pultz Mrs. Leonard Mills
Mrs. John Stevens Marion Whitcomb
Shirley Blackmer Ramona Blackmer
Mr. G. H. Blackmer Mrs. Winona Blackmer
Eunice Mills Mildred Hunt
Charlotte Goddard Mrs. Jacob Omland
Maude Fish Queenie Ida Temple
Evelyn Folsom Barbara Green--1960
Robin Wright May Nichols
Betty Brown Smith Roger Smith
Marion ( Mrs. Victor) Whitcomb Chris Martell
Ladies Aid Society
The Ladies Aid Society of the Union Church Society was formed in 1876; The following is
taken from the Ladies Aid Book #1 at its creation:
This society shall be called the Ladies Union aid Society. Its object is social, moral
and intellectual improvement and enjoyment of all old and young.
It shall have President and Vise-President who shall preside over the affairs of the
Society. The Vise-President acting in the absence of the former.
It shall have a Secretary who shall keep the records of the Society, collect the funds
and pay them into the Treasury and keep a record of the same.
There shall be a Treasurer who shall receive and disburse the funds as the voice of the
Society may direct.
The funds of the Society shall be used to promote the interests of the Sabbath School
and the religious instruction in such ways as the Society may think the cause demands.
The Society shall meet once in two weeks as it shall be appointed from one meeting to
another and at every meeting each person present is required to pay the sum of three
cents into the hands of the Secretary for the benefit of the Society.
An Amendment made August 27, 1878.
No person shall be considered a member of this Society or be allowed to vote at any
of its meetings without first having paid 25 cents and signing their names to the
Constitution and By Laws after which the same amount shall be paid yearly to
"enshure" them a membership. And no member shall be allowed to vote until the
meeting following the one at which they joined the Society.
Seven members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business.
Such methods for mental and moral improvement shall be introduced as shall be
acceptable to a majority of the members.
Any amusements are admissible that do not conflict with the moral sense or good taste
of any of the members and such as may be offensive are at all times prohibited.
There are to be no attempts at display or emulation in dress or otherwise we are to
shut our eyes to each others failings, forgive each others faults and overlook or
forget all mistakes we are to cherish toward all the largest charity and the
The suppers shall be plain and furnished by each family what may be required for the
members representing the same.
Exercises to close invariably at half past 10 o'clock P.M.
The members at this time were:Mrs. M. Cook, Henrietta Collins, C.A. Ballard,W.E. Copeland,
Mary L. Richardson,H. D. Morgan, Julia Whitcomb, S. A. Copeland, Susan Everett,
Jennie L. Pierce, Joel Blackmer, E. P. Baker, Sumner Hodgkins, T. A. Wheeler, Mary
Hodgkins, E. D. Morgan, Willie Chamberlain, M. R. Tupper, Stella Hodgkins, R. H. Tupper,
W. H. Durkee, H. L. Durkee, H. W. Blackmer.
The first Ladies Aid Meeting:
Stockbridge Vt., Feb. 21st. 1876
The Ladies of Stockbridge Common met to organize a Society at the C. S. Carroll house.
Chose Mrs. Baker Chairman and Mrs. J. Whitcomb Secretary for the eve. Chose Mrs.
Romain Sawyer President, Mrs. Mary Richardson Vice President, Mrs. Julia Whitcomb
Secretary. Mrs. Augtusta Carroll Treasurer. Voted to meet at Mrs. James Bakers next
Friday afternoon and Eve.
Julia L. Whitcomb, Sec.
The Ladies Aid Members today in 2005 still pay the sum of 25 cents to belong to the
Society. Though the dues have not increased the cost of the maintenance of the House
certainly has gotten greater. Check out our 2005 Restoration Project section.
LADIES AID MEMBERS TO 1912
The following names were entered in the preface of a"new" Stockbridge Ladies Aid Society
record book dated 1912 by May Holland. This book contains the monthly minutes of the
Society with similar problems and solutions that we still today share in the preservation
of the Stockbridge Meeting House.
Mrs. Mary F. Hubbard - dead Mrs. Henrietta Collins-dead
Mr. W. E. Copeland d Mrs. S. A. Copeland
Mrs. E. D. Morgan d Mr. H. D. Morgan d
Miss Jennie Pierce Mrs. E. P. Baker d
Mrs. L. A. Wheeler Mr. R. H. Tupper d
Mrs. M. R. Tupper d Mrs. H. L. Durkee d
Mr. W. H. Durkee d Mr. H. W. Blackmer d
Mrs. M. Cook d Mrs. C. M Ballard
Miss Susan Everett d Mr. Sumner Hodgkins d
Mrs. Mary Hodgkins d Miss Stella Hodgkins
Mrs. Ellen Everett d Mr. C. S. Carroll d
Mrs. Rosa E. Wilcox d Mrs. Maria Holland d
Mrs. Olive Smith d Mrs. Esther E. Burnham d
Mrs. Abbie L. Durkee d Mrs. Julia L. Whitcomb d
Mrs. Mary L. Richardson Putnam d Mrs. Nora E. Larnard d
Mrs. Augusta S. Carroll d Mrs. Idella F. Hubbard
Mr. Frank Boutwell Mr. Harry Holland
Mr. E. S. Burnham d Miss V. L. Chamberlain
Mrs. Mary A. Savage d Mrs. Mary L. Packard d
Mrs. Mary C. Packard d Miss Alice M. Sheldon
Mrs. Harriet Durkee d Mrs. Sarah Blackmer d
Mrs. C. L. Chamberlain " Mr. Joel Blackmer d
Mrs. J. M. Chamberlain d Mrs. Ada B. Leonard
Miss. Anna A. Whitcomb d Mrs. Lucy A. Gilman
Miss Alice Blackmer Smith Mrs. Genie O. Twitchell dead
Mrs, May Holland Mrs. Minnie Mills
Mr. Lucian Blackmer d Mrs. Alice M. Holland
Mrs. F. Sawyer d Mrs. Abbie Colby d 1-29-1896
Mrs. Effie Holland 2-12-1896 Mr. Julius Blackmer 5-27-1896
Mrs. Ida M. Packard d 10-6-1896 Mrs. E. Sheldon d 10-20-1897
Mrs. Dora Clark d 10-20-1897 Mrs. Sumner French d 11-3- 1897
Mrs. Lorilla Baker d 12-29-1897 Mrs. Harriet Grant d 3-19-1898
Miss Flora Baker d 10-19-1898 Mrs. Bertha Jackson d 3-14-1900
Mrs. Lydia Cady d 9-11- 1901 Mrs. Ransom Durkee d 9-11-1901
Miss Lizzie Burditt 9-11-1901 Mrs. Ruby Hunt Blackmer d
Mr. A. E. Baker d Mr. A. W. Chamberlain d 1904
Mrs. C. H. Durkee 6-15-1904 Miss V. M. Mack Martin 11-15-1904
Mr. Geo. A. Stott Mrs. Effie M. Allen dead
Mr. W, Calvin Green d 2-21-1904 Mrs. Lula M. Baker 6-27-1906
Mrs. F. E. Barnes 6-26-1907 Miss Bessie A. Barnes 6-26-1907
Miss Bessie E. Sawyer Hunt d 8-7-1907 Miss Josie Mills 8-7-1907
Mrs. Ed. Norton 3-11-1911
Note: "d" indicated person dead in 1912 and the date indicates the date of becoming a
member in the Ladies Aid.
Mona's Vision for the Meeting House
For many years, until her death in 2000, Ramona Blackmer was a staunch caretaker of, and
the Stockbridge Meeting House.
In 1986 she wrote the following, to rally the community to preserve this important landmark.
Now, 20 years later, her gauntlet has been taken up.
On March 16, 1876, a small group of men joined together to "determine the feasability of
building, or repairing a meeting house or to furnish some suitable place to hold meetings."
It was voted that each man present at that meeting, should "act as a committee of one
to talk to his neighbors and gain their minds in regards to building new, or repairing a
meeting house or building a hall."
How ironic that in 1986 our footsteps have brought us full circle to determine these
same answers to questions that sound very familiar to our present situation.
Our journey through time bears witness to many similar concerns and proposals made
by our forefathers 100 years ago.
It fosters a deep need for us in 1986 to carry on a steadfast commitment instituted
for the purpose of serving our loved ones through years past and through many more
years to come.
The Stockbridge Meeting House was built in 1828. Fifty-two years later, on February 21, 1876,
the Stockbridge Ladies Union Aid Society was formed. "The ladies of Stockbridge Common met
at the home of Mrs. C. S. Carroll to organize a society. Mrs. Sawyer was elected President,
Mary Richardson, Vice-President, and Mrs. Joseph Smith was elected to arrange the
Constitution and By-Laws."
Through the years the ladies have found many diverse ways to earn money to support the
church. Box socials, quilt raffles, ice-cream socials, oyster suppers, apron sales,
chicken pie suppers, and lawn parties to name a few. They responded to the same problems
that have be-set each generation. In October, 1896, the church roof was leaking.
"Joel Blackmer will see that needed repairs are made. The Ladies Aid to furnish funds for
it, providing the men of this community lack sufficient "gimp" to do it."
The preceding excerpts and quotations were taken from the Ladies Union Aid Society
Secretaries time-worn books and records.
These sturdy veterans have presented a fine example for us. Now, let us pick up the gauntlet.
As we bend to the problems before us, let us remember well the spirit of hope and promise
that live and dwell within these precious walls.
Let us re-dedicate ourselves to upholding this spirit of love and hope in a positive and
written by Ramona Blackmer -1986
Restoration of the Stockbridge Meeting House
The Stockbridge Union Meeting House has not been used as either a church or a meeting
place on a regular basis; other than an occasional wedding, funeral or a town function,
the dignified old building has stood idle, and in increasing disrepair.
There have been many starts and stops to the actual business of organizing a complete
renovation of the Meeting House; one important reason of course was the lack of funds.
Therefore over the last 20 + years only the simplest and most necessary repairs were done.
In 2001 a meeting was held at the Meeting House and a small group began planning to restore
the building to once again serve as a center to the community. Aided by a grant from the
Preservation Trust of Vermont, a restoration specialist inspected the building and a report
was prepared as to work necessary and its costs.
In 2003 the Stockbridge Ladies Aid had a meeting at the new Town Office and it was decided
that they were going to do it this time! An antique auction was planned for July 24,2004
on the Common in front of the Meeting House; monies realized from this endeavor amounted
to about $6,500.00. This was the beginning!
A committee of four was formed to "carry the ball" to raise more money and find a
contractor willing to do the work. The McKernon Group,Inc. consented to work with us and
they have been a guiding hand to the huge task of restoring this important building.
The McKernon Group Inc. has been responsible for renovations and restorations of many
historic properties in Brandon, Rochester and Stockbridge, Vermont and built the new
Stockbridge Town Office in 2003.
Grants were written and well received by the JGA Foundation in New Jersey and two of the
local banks; Christmas cards, note cards and antiques sold at town fairs, and donations
given us by several very generous Stockbridge residents added to the total, and soon we
had more funds.
With the addition of these funds the building could be pulled off its rubble foundation
and in October 2005 a new foundation was built. The building was pulled back over what
is now a large community room that is handicap accessible.
On March 8, 2006 a standing seam roof, black in color is replacing the rusty metal one.
In front of the building concrete supports have been poured in preparation for the
construction of the new front entrance that will replicate the original ones shown in the
earliest photo of the building. It will span the width of the building with two steps
up on three sides.
The next phase will be the painting of the exterior after minor repairs to the bottom
boards where the old steps caused damage from water set back. The clapboards are in
excellent shape as are the windows, sills and casings. With scraping, primer and two
coats of paint, the exterior walls will be completed.
Because we must now meet State Safety Codes we have to incorporate handicap ramps and
additional exits. A door will be added at the back of the auditorium for fire safety,
a staircase in the front vestibule leading downstairs to the community room, an outside
door (metal for fire) leading into the community room on the ground level accessed by a
The interior walls come next; the plan is to remove the old cracked horsehair plaster,
insulate, replace old electric wiring and put up wallboard with a thin coat of plaster
to duplicate the old walls.
There is more to do, but we are confident that with the generosity of the Foundation and
the individual donations received and those yet to come we will be able to accomplish our
satisfying and rewarding job. We hope to have saved this building for another 179 years
for the future generations of Stockbridge.
Photos of the Stockbridge Meeting House
Stockbridge, VT Town Coordinator E-mail: Barb Vellturo
Contact Ann Mensch: Webweaver for Stockbridge, VT
Copyright 2002 by Ann Mensch and Barb Vellturo. All Rights Reserved.