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Municipality Triviality June 2022

Harder than Jeopardy. Softer than clams.
June 15, 2022

Only Bevan Quinn – that is, Bevan Quinn from Guilford, not the other one – successfully sorted out the answers to last month’s around-the-state road trip, whose whereabouts went like this: Bethel, Brandon, Wells, Arlington, Woodford, Vernon, Andover, Windsor, Ludlow, Barnard, Strafford, Cabot, Averill, Lowell, Glover, Fairfax, Bolton, Middlesex, and Randolph. In the Shabby Department, that cartographic achievement rates a “Not Too.” (Here’s a link to the instructions for the entire convoluted drive in case you don’t recall it, and here's a visual representation of the route. The suitable-for-framing map created by Designs By Shawna™ we promised you last time is regrettably on back order.)

For the June query, all you have to do is put a name to this eminent gent along with his discovery:

  • He was born in a Vermont town whose name is the same as a place where 8,000-year-old wine jars were discovered. 
  • He was the youngest of 12 children and not always the favorite, once complaining “Many a time I would wake up in the morning and find a snow drift on my bed, the snow having blown through the leaky roof.” 
  • At the age of 16, he apprenticed with a Saint Albans dude to learn the trade of chair-making. Allowed a measly five bucks a year for spending money, he rang the church bell at six o’clock in the morning, receiving a dollar from each local merchant for the service. 
  • At the age of 28, he entered the Crosby Street College of Physicians and Surgeons. 
  • At the age of 30, having taken no degree, he decided to “throw physic to the dogs” (yes!) and began to present a series of lectures on chemistry and natural philosophy. 
  • At one such performance in Hartford, Connecticut (anagram: the frantic conductor), which coincided with the 527th anniversary of King Birger of Sweden seizing his brothers (Valdemar, Duke of Finland, and Eric, Duke of Södermanland) and sticking them in Nyköping Castle dungeon, he demonstrated the use of a certain something that led directly to a critical advancement in the world of surgery. 
  • At the age of 33, while lecturing on the telegraph (sanctioned by Professor S. Morse himself), he devised an electric motor, currently on display at the Smithsonian Institute, that is believed to be the first application of electricity to propel cars. 
  • At the age of 35, he went to California, where his brother was a Monterey municipal official. His Gold Rush venture didn’t pan out (ha), although he did practice medicine while there and Governor Riley later appointed him the state’s first justice of the peace. 
  • He was also an author and a Shakespearean scholar.

That’s plenty to work with. Who was this esteemed Vermonter and what was the certain something mentioned 127 words above?

When you have arrived at the answers – whether by deduction, Ouija board, a stroke of luck, a memorandum from the Oracle at Delphi, or good old fashioned research ؘ– email them to dgunn@vlct.org. My answers will appear in the justifiably jam-packed [rhymes with “glue fly”] Journal