Swanton - Maquam Wildlife Refuge
Description: Swanton is the Ancient Homeland for the Missisquoi Abenaki There are several sites in the area that can be visited to learn about Abenaki women. The Maquam Wildlife Refuge includes the site where Martha (Grandma) Lampman lived, an Abenaki woman who was well known for her knowledge of tribal customs and medical herbs.
Directions: Swanton can be reached on I89, exit 21or by taking Rt 7N out of St. Albans. (Main Street). From downtown Swanton (Swanton Chamber of Commerce Info bldg), follow Rt 78 west to junction with 36 (notice signs for Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge) (just after crossing Missisquoi River). Turn left onto 36S (note signs for Champlain Bikeway). Stay on 36S (it will take a quick turn right onto Lake Street). Stay on 36 S until you see a green and yellow Fish and Wildlife sign on left saying Maquam Wildlife Management Area Grandma Lampman Unit (1 mile). Park on right side of road and walk in past orange gate 200 feet.to marker. Continue walking past marker to get onto network of unmarked walking trails into the Preserve.
Swanton - Missisquoi Village and Mission Marker - Abenaki Totem Pole
Monument marking the “First Church in Vermont” –
Description: These are other locations in Swanton related to Abenaki History that can be visited on the way to Highgate Springs.
Directions: Return to downtown Swanton. Take 7 N out of Swanton. 7 turns left soon after leaving downtown .7 miles from the turn, you will see the Missisquoi Village and Mission marker on your left at the corner of Monument Drive. Turn left on this road and continue about 1.5 miles (you will end up following the Missisquoi River on your left) until you come to the end, where you will find the Abenaki Totem Pole and “First Church” monument.
Women of Note in Swanton
Martha "Grandma" Lampman
In 1991, Abenaki community members organized to save an area known to many as Grandma Lampmans', which was owned by a developer who had plans for building houses on the land. The group went through the necessary processes and appeals to get the area designated as an official Wildlife Refuge, learning about the ins and outs of environmental law on the local, state and federal levels. They ultimately succeeded in protecting over 500 acres of land from development, which included important sacred wetlands and ancestral hunting territory for the Abenakis. Members of the Abenaki community had been stewards of the land for generations. This particular piece of land was much more than just a wetland to the community. It was and is known as Grandma Lampman's land, where she lived and raised many children. It was and is also a great hunting area and place to gather herbs and berries. It is also known as a place for some to practice the Native Spirituality. Last, but not least, it includes very sacred burial sites, which are now protected under federal law.
Agnes Elizabeth Joy
information courtesy of Saint Pierre Farms
Agnes Elizabeth Joy was born on December 25, 1844 in Swanton, Vermont.
While she was still very young, her family moved to Quebec. Agnes dreamed of a different life, so she ran away and joined the circus. She was an equestrienne. Later she became a dancer and actress using the name Mlle. Agnes LeClercq. Agnes married Colonel (Felix) Salm-Salm. He held the title of Prince in Prussia, but his brother was the crown prince. Agnes and Salm shared the same birth date.
Agnes persuaded her friends in the military to give her husband a commission as Colonel of the New York Volunteers. To be with her husband, Agnes again persuaded a friend, the Governor of Illinois, to give her a commission of captain. The Prince ended up fighting in Mexico, and Agnes went right along with him. While she was sick with diphtheria, the Prince and Maximilian were captured by the Mexican government. When she was well enough, Agnes tried to meet with officials about releasing the men, but they would not listen. Agnes stole a horse and rode off to see General Ecobedo. She saw the Emperor and begged on her knees to plead for their lives. She tried to bribe the guards. All of her attempts were wasted. When she returned to New York, she was welcomed as heroine. Several months later the prince was sent back to his homeland, Westphalia.
Agnes received another captain's commission from General Steinmets while on assignment as a hospital assistant. She became a nursing assistant and studied at the University of Bonn in nursing and surgery. She was noted for her steadiness and calm power.
On August 18, 1870 Felix was killed and buried on the battlefield. Agnes would not have that. She went with an escort and retrieved his body for a Catholic burial. She returned to nursing and was known as "Empress". Agnes was recommended for a medal called the Order of the Iron Cross.
Agnes lived in Switzerland and was known as the Baroness Stein. She worked with the nuns in the army hospitals. Later she moved to Italy. She met and married Charles Heneage in 1876. Agnes moved back to New York in 1899 by herself. She continued her work and began to raise money for ambulances.
Agnes wrote a book called Ten Years of My Life. She was the subject of an article in 1900 that said she was a woman of title who has again sprung into prominence, untiring in her efforts to alleviate the suffering of men in battle. It was said that she led a fairy-tale life and her achievements came from her own ambitions.
In 1912 Agnes died in Karsruhe, Southern Germany.