Henry David Thoreau stayed only five days in Brattleboro in 1856, but left a lasting impression. He visited several local botanists - he was seeking ‘Aster ptarmicoides’ which could be found near the Connecticut River. His searches took him along the new railroad tracks, along the Whetstone Brook and around the frog pond on Chestnut Hill. He pressed many plant samples, finding Brattleboro to be good botanical ground. Hiking Mt. Wantastiquet (then known as Chesterfield Mountain), he observed: “The village of Brattleboro is peculiar for the nearness of the primitive wood and the mountain...this everlasting mountain is forever lowering over the village, shortening the day and wearing a misty cap each morning.” Thoreau’s longest journal entry involves a dead catamount, once plentiful in these woods. “The most interesting sight I saw in Brattleboro was the skin and skull of a panther ... It gave one a new idea of our American forests and the vigor of nature here …” A couple of years after his visit, young Mary Brown, with whom he’d stayed, sent Thoreau some blooming bloodroot and mayflowers. He was already suffering from tuberculosis, and would die not long afterwards at the age of 44. Thoreau wrote to thank Mary: “Please remember me to Father and Mother, whom I shall not fail to visit whenever I come to Brattleboro, also to the Chesterfield Mountain, if you can communicate with it; I suppose it has not budged an inch.
Research, Script, and Production: Lissa Weinmann
Narration / Voice of Thoreau: Jon Mack
Excerpts from Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Edited by Bradford Torrey and Francis H. Allen Vol. IX. (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., © 1906) pps 61-81.
Passages quoted from ‘Elevating Ourselves’ Henry David Thoreau on Mountains sponsored by the Thoreau Society, A mariner original -- Edited by J. Parker Huber.
Newspaper cited was: Vermont Phoenix, June 21, 1856 article entitled, "Fishing Excursion to Saranac Lake".
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