Friday November 23, 2012

VERNON -- It took a lot of work to put together a video explaining Vernon's history.

But that effort is paying off, both in terms of community interest over the past year and now through an award from the Vermont Historical Society.

Barbara Moseley of the Vernon Historians was among the local representatives who traveled to Woodstock earlier this month to receive the society's award of excellence in publications and oral history.

"I find it rewarding to see these things accomplished," Moseley said. "These were major projects, and it's rewarding to see them recognized."

She said the Guided Tour of Vernon DVD was conceived to "give a good overall view of the town" in a format that might reach more people than a pamphlet or book would.

"We had no up-to-date written history," Moseley said. "And this seemed like a more-accessible medium."

Moseley serves as narrator and tour guide for the video, and she credits Jeff Mastroianni of Newfane for serving as a "patient and knowledgeable" videographer.

The DVD was released just before Christmas 2011.

"It took a year, at least, previous to that to put it together," Moseley said.

Copies are available for purchase at the town clerk's office, with proceeds benefiting the Vernon Historians. Moseley said she has gotten lots of positive feedback about the DVD, even from longtime residents who already are familiar with the town's history.

"People have come to me saying they never realized this or that happened," she said.

Moseley also received an "individual award of merit" from the Barre-based Vermont Historical Society.

That honor was for her extensive work researching the story of Pvt. John G. Sugland, a Civil War veteran from Vernon who had served in the first black military unit in New England but had been buried in an unmarked grave.

Moseley's efforts led to a new marker for Sugland at Tyler Cemetery. A ceremony in June occurred on the 125th anniversary of Sugland's burial, and Moseley said the Vernon Historians and the town's cemetery committee played a big role in organizing that event.

"I did the research, which is what I enjoy doing," Moseley said.

The historians have several projects in the works, including a display honoring the town's Civil War veterans in the spring, Moseley said.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.