Away from Home

Cambridge Transcript.
Entered at the Post-office at Cambridge, Vt., as Second Class Mail Matter.
FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 1895.
Away From Home.

We went away Memorial Day as has been our custom for many years, and contrary to our usual custom allowed our selves two days outing and it is of the occasion and the two special days that we crave a little space in your paper for publication; and it is all about a day we hold sacred to special commemoration, and some things we saw, and men we met during the time.

By invitation from the G A.R, and citizens of Danby, Vt., through S. L. Griffith, we dedicated our services that day to the public at that place.

The 30th of May for the past thirty years has invariably been a pleasant and beautiful day. The order of nature has especially arranged for that season of the year and date more that is lovely, appreciative, beautiful, flagrant, blooming, instructive, suggestive and grand than any other data, in any other month of the year. The flowering time of the reproductive creation of nature at this season, causes the heart of youth to leap for joy, and the soul of age to hope for the future.

At Danby we met and mingled with as patriotic, intelligent and comely an audience and people as it has been our privilege to mingle with and appear before in our experience as a public speaker. The town is situated about twenty miles from Rutland, on the Bennington & Rutland R. R., in the midst of and surrounded by some of Vermont’s most beautiful and enchanting mountain scenery, diversified with hills and valleys. It would be difficult to select any one part of our State that had special attractions that any other section was not possessed of; but Danby, in connection with Mount Tabor, which joins it, has received very liberally from the storehouse of nature and the intelligence of her people appreciate the gift and giver.

The exercises were held at the Cong’l church, a beautiful, well-arranged structure, finely located and elegantly furnished and well patronized. The presiding minister is a true New England man of God, educated, instructive and appreciated; with a wife especially fitted and consecrated to her husband’s calling, the highest known among men.

The G. A. R. Post at that place conducted the exercises in a manner very effective and in strict accordance with the rules of the order, which was appreciated by an audience that overflowed the house. The singing and organ accompaniment was of a very superior order and excelled anything in that line that we have listened to. May their voices never lose their soul and music. The floral display was tasteful, beautiful and the selections very appropriate. We congratulate the people of Danby and the surrounding community on account of all they did and seemed disposed to do for that day; and we do not believe that other good days are forgotten. But to do all this and sustain the same, costs someone time and money. I suppose all the good people contribute both of these essentials. I would like to make special mention of many good men and women that I have met in my day if time and space would allow.

But there is a man in Danby who owns a good proportion of Mount Tabor that is such a complete and typically successful Yankee that he deserves mention and recognition. S. L. Griffith is a business man that one meets with pleasure, and parts with regret. a man between fifty and sixty years of age, he embodies as many true and successful business traits of character as any man in the State of Vermont. Beginning with small means, but lots of determination, sense, pluck and honor, he has steadily advanced, never faltered, until he is the acknowledged largest manufacturer of lumber and charcoal in the State; employing hundreds of men and horses, and a great number of oxen, owning several mills, and a village with a complete outfit of stores and shops, recognized with a post-office, and thousands of acres of timber land. Mount Tabor without S. L. Griffith would not be. The post office is called Griffith, and his employees all respect him for his liberal pay and honorable dealing. His help in the woods and at the mill get all the way from $1.25. per day to $1000 per year, house rent, garden and fuel free. Many of his men have been with him years. The liberality of this man’s hands is made manifest In many ways. It is, as I am told, largely by, and through him that the church building was put in its present condition. The organ, a grand Estey affair, was a gift from him, and his hands never refuse an honest call. At an expense of nearly $8000 he brought water to the village and for a nominal consideration supplies the town. His residence is a beautiful home with a magnificent hot-house, where he and his estimable wife take great pains in raising, and pleasure in showing, rare and beautiful plants and flowers. His office near the depot is fitted with all modern appliances and an able corps of clerks, including a typewriter. Telephones connect with all his departments. His large establishment on Mount Tabor, which employs in the season some 150 men and over 100 horses and oxen, including store, post-office, shops, a number of charcoal kilns, etc., is under the general management of Charles Sowle, who at one time was our “Charley” and clerked at the place for O. W. Reynolds and at the hotel. The boys would hardly know Charley. He is all business and has the merited confidence of his employer. His little cottage is well presided over by his comely and faithful housewife. We always said that Charley would “get there” and he is almost there—but wait a little.

Mr. Griffith holds that every man has his weak place and forcible, and he makes claim to one.

Some four or five miles from any human habitation, in the midst of one of the most beautiful forests I ever entered, composed of spruce mostly, with hard wood, an unbroken woods of thousands of acres, hill, mountain and valley, God made a lovely little lake of twenty acres, with sloping, gravelly shores, and dreadfully deep water, surrounded with shade, creeping vine and wild honeysuckle. A place with as much beauty, grace and lovely scenery as I ever saw.

Lake Griffith is but a tear
Dropped on the cheek of the mountain.
Sometime nature wept,
And the crystal from the fountain
Centered in the rock-cleft bowl
Until it overflowed.
What God, in beauty created,
Man found and pronounced it good.

And now a hand most kind,
Has provided shady bowers
From which to admire its beauty,
And breathe its lily flowers.
If there’s a place on earth
More beautiful than all the rest,
‘Tis none other than lake Griffith—
Near the mountain’s crest.

On an elevation by the lake, Mr.Griffith has erected a commodious club-house, surrounded with a wide veranda, well finished and furnished, and from which a splendid view may be had of mountain and valley, and no place where the hand of man has ever desecrated—for miles this view extends. He has a large number of men constructing carriage roads through the forest, which, when completed, will aggregate some twenty miles. A fine boat-house has been constructed and first-class row-boats are in readiness for guests or patrons. Domestic ducks and geese are provided for and protected by the keeper. This is a private lake and Mr. Griffith’s property.

One of the pleasant features of this lake is the generous supply of genuine speckled trout that inhabit its waters. Under the fostering care of Mr. Griffith they will soon increase in size and numbers until they mill furnish a rich supply for his table. In this matter he takes great pride, and an experienced man cares for them and has a close eye for poachers. Deer and bear abound in the wood and are seen daily. A large number of deer yarded last winter near the lake. It is needless to say that it would be unfortunate for the man who killed one of these beauties, and hounds that pass that way are seldom known to make the return trip. They bid farewell to hope who enter into his park. In a few years this wild-wood place will command the admiration of all who are fortunate enough to be invited to its privacy and enjoy the generous hospitality of its worthy owner.

Many a city club would pay thousands of dollars for this “darling resort,” and then thank their good fortune. This man with his means is a decided benefit to his community and State. Vermont has many such natural resorts and they have been patiently waiting for men like Mr. Griffith to find, appreciate and develop them.

That Mr. Griffith and his estimable wife may live many years to enjoy the fruits of legitimate labor and well manage industry, is the sincere wish of one favorable impress with him and his wife. W.H.P.