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Forum, July 9: Devilish Tale of the Wright’s Mountain Name


Sunday, July 08, 2018
Devilish Tale of Wright’s Mountain

Much attention has been given to Bradford, Vt.’s award-winning Wright’s Mountain Trail system (“Wright’s Receives National Status,” June 20), but there remains a question as to the origins of the mountain’s name.

Among the earliest settlers in our region was one Benoni Wright, who migrated to Newbury from New Hampshire in the year 1762. Frederic Wells’ History of Newbury, Vermont (1902) states that Benoni Wright brought with him “some strange doctrines which he preached and made himself obnoxious. The elders of the settlement condemned him to receive 10 lashes ‘well laid on.’ ” He then removed to Bradford. Harold Haskins wrote in his History of Bradford, Vermont (1968) that Benoni Wright was a “zealous man, eccentric in many things, and fanatic where religion was concerned.”

In an earlier Bradford town history (1868), the Rev. Silas McKeen notes that on the south side of Wright’s Mountain there is a deep ravine and a large cavity at the bottom most inappropriately known as “Devil’s Den,” since that evil personage “prefers cities to dens or caves among wild beasts.”

McKeen continues that Benoni Wright wished to prepare himself to be a prophet of the Lord by letting his beard grow to a great length and fast in the cave for 40 days: “He prepared for himself a leather girdle with a buckle on one end and 42 progressive holes on the other in order to reach his spiritual goal. Benoni Wright, so the story goes, eventually gave in and left the cave in search of nourishment, fearing that otherwise he might die.”

About the mountain, McKeen wrote in 1874 that a “carriage road, not a very good one, was once made to the top of the mountain, and two celebrations of the 4th of July have been held there.” He added: “The prospect from that elevation is truly magnificent; and if to be obtained in some parts of the country, less affluent in beautiful scenery, would be highly appreciated by crowds of visitors.”

And so it goes on Wright’s Mountain.

John A. Fatherley

Bradford, Vt.

Grafton County’s Budget Increase

Everything is going up, but is your paycheck?

On June 25, the Grafton County delegation, which is made up of Grafton County’s state representatives, passed the fiscal year 2019 county budget, effective July 1, that went up approximately 3.8 percent over last year’s budget. This budget increase includes a large raise for the county attorney position, a part-time assistant county attorney position is now a full-time position, a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for most county employees, and so on. Our elected officials need to stop thinking of us taxpayers as an unlimited source of funds. We all have to live within our means. The state, county and towns should do the same.

We have elections coming up, including for county commissioners, state representatives and the county attorney, to name a few. The primary is Sept. 11 and the general election is Nov. 4. I encourage you to ask those who are running where they stand on fiscal responsibility. Elections do have consequences.

Rebecca Bailey

Piermont

The writer is a candidate on the Republican ticket for Grafton County District 15 state representative.

Succumbing to Irrational Anger

Shame on you, Valley News, for publishing Tom Scocca’s scurrilous opinion column (“Civility? With This White House? Please,” June 27). Really? Are you serious? Has it come to the point where “progressives” are so distraught at losing elections democratically that they have decided to trash the most basic tenet of our Constitution? Perhaps George Orwell was right: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” So let me get this straight: not putting two same-gender figures on a wedding cake or providing separate bathrooms for transgender people are major civil rights issues, but throwing people out of a public restaurant for working for the duly elected president of the United States is the right thing to do?

The party I grew up in defined liberal as tolerant and accepting rather than the emotional reductionism of every brutal, despotic ruler that ever lived. This radical change in ideology and rejection of rule of law by the left might accelerate the spiraling downfall of a party that has seemingly succumbed to irrational anger and an inability to face its own shortcomings.

Bob Fox

Quechee