New generation looks to preserve a piece of Danville’s past
DANVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - A Civil War soldier was a hero in one Vermont town, but a key piece of his history was missing. That’s until a young historian stumbled upon a big find online.
Colonel Addison Preston fought in the First Vermont Cavalry in the Civil War and is now buried in Danville.
Vermont’s Civil War Hemlocks and the Danville Historical Society are working to add to their collection of Preston artifacts. But the person who realized a whole uniform of Preston’s existed is of a different generation.
Colby Tuller is a freshman at U32 high school. He’s a history buff.
“I’m really into it. And I’m in the Hemlocks myself and I’m actually helping teach one of the middle school military history classes at U32 every first and third Thursday of each month,” said Tuller.
He’s currently the youngest member of the Vermont Civil War Hemlocks, an organization preserving and distributing artifacts. He said he was browsing a history catalog online when he stumbled upon a full uniform and other items belonging to Addison Preston.
“It was immediately obvious that this was a collection of stuff that needed to be returned to Danville,” said Steve Wakefield of Vermont Civil War Hemlocks.
Wakefield said the artifacts have a history of their own, too. He found them in the 1990s, but they were privately owned in California.
Since, they’ve done a stint in Texas, and are now in Gettysburg, where Tuller stumbled upon them online.
Wakefield said it’s costing the Hemlocks and the Danville Historical Society $27,500 to buy the artifacts to get them back to Danville so they’re fundraising to make it happen.
“How many times did Addison Preston walk by this residence on his way to houses right up the hill? You know, I’m sure he was familiar with the folks who lived here and perhaps even been in the house. And now to have his artifacts returned to Danville and be preserved here, I think is monumental,” said Wakefield.
In Danville, Patty Houghton Conly of the Historical Society said they do have some artifacts already, but this would be a significant addition.
“It’s not just about a uniform core, or a pair of boots or a saddle but to know the story behind the person that wore them. And also the family members that were left behind here,” said Houghton Conly.
The chance to retain more possessions of Addison Preston is a win for the organizations, but they also said it’s great a young member of the group sparked the idea.
“I think that’s how history is perpetrated,” said Houghton Conly.
“The future generations of the country need to know their history,” said Tuller
Once they have the funds, the organizations say they’ll be making the trek to Pennsylvania to bring the artifacts back.
Copyright 2023 WCAX. All rights reserved.