Family celebrates long local history

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Reformer staff

BRATTLEBORO — The descendants of Captain John Kathan, who lived from 1707-1787, had their family reunion in Putney from Friday to Sunday at The Putney Inn on the original farmstead and trading post established by Kathan in 1752.

Kathan, who fought in the French and Indian War at the Battle of Lake George in 1755, was a Scotch-Irish settler who came to Boston with his family around 1729. He settled in Worcester, Mass., with other Scotch-Irish immigrants and traded materials with Native Americans.

In 1752, Kathan and his family moved to Fort Dummer (in what is now Brattleboro) and acquired land along the Connecticut River in what eventually became Putney. The Kathan Family Bible, now housed at the library in Brattleboro, records family events including the family's arrival at Fort Dummer in 1752.

On Friday at the reunion, attendees learned about caring for the Kathan Family Cemetery and participated in a program on using DNA to track ancestry.

On Saturday, a new grave marker was dedicated to Charles Kathan, one of John's sons. He lived from 1743 to 1783. The Putney Historical Society and sites associated with the Kathan family were explored during the afternoon followed by a banquet at the Putney Inn and a meeting of the Kathan Family Association. The family association's website can be found at

On Sunday, the reunion closed with a special service at the Dummerston Congregational Church, which once attended by Kathan ancestors. Afterwards the Dummerston Historical Society was opened so items owned by the early Kathan settlers could be seen.



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