A Stone Livestock Pound

Dry Stone Impoundment: Symbol of Civic Order

What was the first public structure built to safeguard harmony in early agricultural communities? Who were the hog reeves and why were they sometimes recently married, young men? What did impecunious pound-brechers do to deserve 30 lashes? These questions and more will be answered during a program I’ll be giving at the Dummerston Historical Society’s quarterly meeting Thursday July 18th at 7:30 pm.

Now a relic of bygone local society, the town pound was once an important fixture at the geographical center of many early New England townships. In fact, the impetus for incorporating a town was often the erection of a pound and the implementation of laws and regulations pertaining to their operation.

The first pounds were wood constructions, similar to the fences that enclosed household gardens in the village. The need for more sturdy and lasting structures led to a vote at town meetings to pay for dry stone built pounds. It’s been 150 years since town pounds fell out of use but many examples still remain standing.

I hope you’ll join me for an evening exploring the history of Dummerston’s town pound and take a walk around the dry stone pound, erected ten years ago, next to the Historical Society building.

Thursday 18 July at 7:30 pm
Dummerston Historical Society Schoolhouse
Dummerston Center, VT.