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Local history sheds light on 19th century America

Richard Allen of Essex Junction is the historian and author of "North Williston: Down Depot Hill," published in March 2011 by The History Press. Allen is pictured here at his home on Sunday, March 28, 2011. (Scott Yates/Williston Observer)
Richard Allen of Essex Junction is the historian and author of “North Williston: Down Depot Hill,” published in March 2011 by The History Press. Allen is pictured here at his home on Sunday, March 28, 2011. (Scott Yates/Williston Observer)

Observer staff report

Local historian Richard Allen’s newest book takes readers back to Williston in the 19th century.

The book, entitled “Ambition and Grit: The Life of Truman Naramore, Civil War Veteran and Entrepreneur” delves into the life of Naramore, who lived from 1838 to 1895. Born in Charlotte, he lived in Williston for 19 years after returning from serving with the Vermont Calvary in the Civil War.

Aside from founding local Grange chapters, Naramore was an inventor, patenting a series of farm equipment innovations and other items in Williston before heading west with thousands of other Americans.

“From my early research on Truman Naramore it soon became obvious that he had led an eventful life that took him through some major chapters of nineteenth century American history: the Civil War and the postwar challenges faced by Union veterans, the mechanization of agriculture, and the westward migration to California,” Allen wrote in an email to the Observer. “One way to comprehend national history is to learn about the local stories and people that reflect the greater scope of change in our country over the years.”

The Chittenden County Historical Society and the Williston Historical Society will host a free book launch on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at Williston’s Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.