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Vernon Bartlett

Vernon Bartlett



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Vernon Bartlett was born in Swanage on 30th April 1894. After being educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, he worked as a journalist for the Daily Chronicle and Picture Post.

Bartlett wrote about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany and warned against the appeasement policy of Neville Chamberlain and the Conservative government. Bartlett was a harsh critic of the Munich Agreement and afterwards was approached by Richard Acland to stand as an anti-Chamberlain candidate at a by-election in Bridgwater. Bartlett agreed and in November, 1938, surprisingly won the previously safe Tory seat and became a member of the House of Commons.

During the Second World War Bartlett was appointed Assistant Director of Propaganda. One suggestion made by Bartlett was that German food distribution could be disrupted by getting the Royal Air Force to drop large numbers of forged ration cards. The idea was rejected by Neville Chamberlain who insisted that Britain must "fight fair".

On 28th May, 1940, the BBC started the North American Service. Bartlett was chosen to be the station's first speaker: "I am going to talk to you three times a week from a country that is fighting for its life. Inevitably I'm going to get called by that terrifying word propagandist. But of course I'm a propagandist. Passionately I want my ideas - our ideas - of freedom and justice to survive." Bartlett, who was director of the British Press Services, in 1941 was sent to the Soviet Union to arrange for a better exchange of information between the country and the British Commonwealth.

Bartlett was a founder member of the 1941 Committee. Other members included Edward G. Hulton, J. B. Priestley, Kingsley Martin, Richard Acland, Michael Foot, Peter Thorneycroft, Thomas Balogh, Richie Calder, Tom Winteringham, Vernon Bartlett, Violet Bonham Carter, Konni Zilliacus, Victor Gollancz, Storm Jameson and David Low. In December 1941 the committee published a report that called for public control of the railways, mines and docks and a national wages policy. A further report in May 1942 argued for works councils and the publication of "post-war plans for the provision of full and free education, employment and a civilized standard of living for everyone."

Later that year Bartlett, Richard Acland, J. Priestley and other members of the 1941 Committee established the socialist Common Wealth Party. The party advocated the three principles of Common Ownership, Vital Democracy and Morality in Politics. The party favoured public ownership of land and Acland gave away his Devon family estate of 19,000 acres (8,097 hectares) to the National Trust.

After the war Bartlett joined the Labour Party. However, he retired from politics at the 1950 General Election and decided to become a full-time journalist. As well as working for the Daily Chronicle he was staff reporter for the Manchester Guardian between 1954 and 1963. The author of several books, his autobiography, And Now, Tomorrow, was published in 1960.

Vernon Bartlet died on 18th January 1983.

The mood of the German officials when it was announced that the Prime Minister would not see the Chancellor again was one almost of panic. This meant either war or a Hitler surrender. The crowds that applauded Chamberlain as he drove along the Rhine consisted not so much of ardent nationalists, delighted that a foreign statesman had come to make obeisance to their Fuehrer, as of ordinary human beings who wanted to be kept out of war, Since history cannot - thank God - repeat itself, one cannot produce proof to support one's opinions, but I am firmly convinced that, had Chamberlain stood firm at Godesberg, Hitler would either have climbed down or would have begun war with far less support from his own people than he had a year later. The British forces, one is told, were scandalously unprepared, and were able to make good some of their defects during that year. But meanwhile the Western Allies lost the Czechoslovak Army - one of the best on the Continent - defending a country from which the German armies could be out-flanked. Was it not Bismarck who claimed that whoever controlled Bohemia controlled Europe?

Very late that night we learnt that agreement had been reached. But the people whom it principally concerned - the Czechoslovaks - had not been consulted. When it was all over, and the German journalists who had shown such alarm a week earlier were standing on the tables and toasting everybody in large glasses of beer, I watched the two Czech observers enter Mr. Chamberlain's room on the first floor of the Hotel Regina at 2 a.m. in order to learn the fate of their country. "Two days ago," I wrote in my dispatch, "the British and French governments were prepared to help Czechoslovakia if she were attacked; the same governments are now pledged to hold themselves responsible for the fulfilment of the plan for German occupation." It was clear to the Czechoslovak representatives, and surely to everybody else who was there except the British Prime Minister himself, that the independence of their country had been signed away by statesmen (the word should, perhaps, be printed in inverted commas) whose fear had stifled all sense of honour.

I am dumbfounded by the news of the Bridgewater election, where Vernon Bartlett, standing as an Independent, has had a great victory over the Government candidate. This is the worst blow the Government has had since 1935. Of course, there are extenuating explanations, but they are meague comfort.

Yesterday I spoke with Ambassadors, Ministers or high officials in eight Embassies or Legations, and in seven of them the great fear was expressed that the British government's prejudice against genuine co-operation with Russia was daily bringing war nearer.

There can surely be no other career both so flattering and so frustrating as that of a Member of Parliament. I left my constituency after my election with the feeling that I was nearly as important as people there believed me to be. My maiden speech received a whole column in The Times and, as far as I remember some mention in its leader column. Mr. Churchill was one of those who went out of his way to congratulate me. I had been less nervous than I had expected. I seemed to have my foot on the marble staircase that leads up to the Secretary of State's room on the first floor of the Foreign Office.

But a maiden speech is relatively easy, for the Speaker lets you know when he will call you, the tradition of the House is against any interruption, and the following two members are expected - though politically they may hate your guts - to say nice things about your effort. I should have enjoyed the House of Commons more if I had never made a second speech. For, during the second and subsequent speeches there is always the probability that some opponent will leap to his feet with an interruption. You are not compelled to give way, but it is unwise not to do so. His interruption may be irrelevant an idiotic, but it probably succeeds in breaking the thread of you thoughts. If it becomes obvious that it has done so, you may anticipate a whole series of interruptions the next time you catch the Speaker's eye. Even if they are not made, the anticipation of them reduces the confidence with which you face the most difficult audience in the world.

If you speak from a platform, the chances are that you are addressing an audience that has come partly or wholly in order to hear you. Its members may be hostile or critical, but at least they are likely to be attentive. Not so in the House of Commons This is what happens, and the procedure would seem to have been designed, purposely and probably wisely, to take the fire out of any debate.

For many years my special subject had been foreign affairs might, therefore, expect that, in a two-day debate on it, I should have an opportunity to say my piece. For two or three day before such a debate, I draft notes or, perhaps, write out the entire speech in the hope that, by so doing, I shall learn most of it by heart. As soon as the debate begins, I go round to the Speaker's chair to request that my name be included on the list of would-be participants and to ask what are my chances of being called. The first disappointment - Mr. Speaker shakes his head doubtfully. There are already five Privy Councillor down, and they take precedence over ordinary members. The Foreign Secretary wants an hour and a half, and his leading opponent will take at least an hour. There is one maiden speech and twenty members, each as convinced as I am that he has something of value to say, have already approached him. If wait patiently, there might be a chance when everybody have gone off to dinner.

Do we realise sufficiently in the Western democracies how remarkably the country in which Communism was first successful has drifted away from that doctrine, which it still encourages so vigorously in other countries? The Soviet Union now has class distinctions more rigid than any we know in the Parliamentary democracies; one would need to go back a long way in English history to discover a party or a class which had so nearly a monopoly of privilege and power as the Communist Party in the U.S.S.R. Back have come the epaulettes which were condemned so violently after the October Revolution. Back have come the distinctions of rank. The Soviet diplomats dress up in uniform on the slightest excuse or provocation, and Sir Winston Churchill is said to have caused deep offence in Moscow during the war by appearing there in the boiler suit he was so fond of wearing in London.

The revolutionaries of 1917, or those few of them who have escaped the numerous purges or death by natural causes, are no longer lean, hungry and idealistic students; they are for the most part pot-bellied old gentlemen with no other ambition than the conservative and almost universal one of clinging on to their jobs. No attempt in history to create a classless society has yet succeeded. Already the Russian attempt has failed; influenced to a considerable extent by what has happened in Russia, the United Kingdom may come closer to success in this respect than the Russians have done.

I like best to remember Mr Winston Churchill on the day after the House of Commons was bombed. As a journalist, I knew - as most M.P.s did not yet know - of this disaster, and I went down to Westminster to see what it looked like. The bomb had fallen almost directly above the Speaker's Chair, which was crushed under a steep hill of smoking rubble. A cloud of dust still hung over the place. The stone of the doorway into the Chamber - later to be preserved and to be named after the Prime Minister - had been flaked and eroded in one night so that it looked as old and as weather-worn as the ruins of Ancient Rome. As I clambered up the hill of rubble, I was suddenly confronted by a figure clambering up from the other side. There stood Winston Churchill, his face covered with dust, through which the tears that ran down his cheeks had made two miniature river-beds. " I am a House of Commons man," he used to boast; had that boast not been true, he would doubtless have surrendered to the temptation and the clamour to put a stop to Question Time, which caused him and his ministers so much extra work and worry, but which provided that safety-valve for public bewilderment or discontent, and which gave the British an advantage of morale over all the other belligerents. "I am a House of Commons man." And Churchill wept as he saw his beloved House in ruins.


Chief Thomas E. Bartlett

Thomas E. Bartlett, age 64, the Chief of Police in Mount Vernon for the past 23 plus years, died Saturday June 17, 2006 at the Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon. He was born August 7, 1941 in Mount Vernon to Henry D. Bartlett and Reba L. (Johnson) Bartlett and was a 1959 graduate of Mount Vernon High School.

Bartlett began his career with the Mount Vernon Police Department in February of 1964. He was made a sergeant in 1977 and became the head of the detective division later that same year. He was named officer of the year in 1981 and in 1983 he became the 11th chief of the Mount Vernon police department. He served in that position for over 23 years and was the city’s longest serving chief in history. His skills in the field of vehicle theft investigations earned him honors as an instructor in auto and motorcycle theft investigation classes at the Ohio Police Officer’s Training Academy. He had served as vice president of the Ohio Theft Investigators Association and served as an advisor to the magazine Police Products News, for which he authored two articles. Bartlett received many other honors including Life member of the International Association of Police Chiefs, was appointed to the Ohio Victim of Crime Advisory Board by the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court where he served for nine years. Chief Bartlett also helped write state laws dealing with vehicle bumper heights.

Outside the law enforcement arena he had served as president of the Mount Vernon Rotary Club and was distinguished as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.

Tom was a member of the Gay Street United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon.

Surviving are his wife Candis (Kelly) Bartlett his step-daughter Theresa Vernon of Mount Vernon a granddaughter Edie Vernon and his mother-in-law Mary L. Kelly of Mount Vernon.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sons Christopher Bartlett, Chad Thomas Bartlett, an infant brother David Lee Bartlett and his father-in-law Jack L. Kelly.

Friends may call Wednesday from 1 to 3 and 6 to 8 PM at the Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home in Mount Vernon. Services will be Thursday at 2 PM at the Gay Street United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon with Rev. James Magaw and Rev. Dr. David Baker officiating.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Chief Thomas E. Bartlett Scholarship Fund in care of The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County, 1 South Main Street, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050. This scholarship will be awarded to an individual who chooses law enforcement as a career.


Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett was born on April 30 1894 at Westbury, Wiltshire and educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton. After being invalided out of the army during the First World War, he began his career as a journalist, joining the Daily Mail as a general reporter. In 1917 he joined the staff of Reuters, which later sent him to cover the Paris peace conference. Subsequently he became a foreign correspondent for The Times , and it was his experiences in reporting from post-war Europe which led him to become the director of the London office of the League of Nations in 1922, a post which he held for a decade. During this period he began to broadcast for the BBC on foreign affairs, including from 1928 the weekly series The Way of the World .

His broadcasting career suffered a setback in 1933, when comments that he made about Germany's withdrawal from the Geneva disarmament conference were misinterpreted as pro-Nazi. Despite many letters in his support, the BBC decided that it would be best if he were not a member of their staff, and Bartlett therefore resigned, joining the News Chronicle , for whom he was to serve as a diplomatic correspondent for twenty years.

In 1938, after Neville Chamberlain's return from Munich, Bartlett stood for Parliament as an anti-appeasement independent candidate and won, becoming MP for Bridgwater, which had previously been considered a safe Tory seat. He held the seat until 1950 and became known for his contributions to parliamentary debates on foreign affairs. Bartlett was a member of the 1941 Committee which published reports calling for nationalisation and post-war welfare.

During the Second World War Bartlett's experience in broadcasting was put to use and he was involved in producing and conveying official propaganda. As well as the Postscript series of evening talks, aimed at boosting domestic morale, he broadcast frequently to America, and also to France, Germany and Scandinavia. He also served as British press attach in Moscow for a time in 1941.

After his retirement from the News Chronicle in 1954 Bartlett moved to Singapore, where he was both political commentator for the Straits Times and South East Asia correspondent for the Manchester Guardian . In 1956 he was appointed CBE. In 1961 he moved to Tuscany, where he ran a vineyard and continued to write. He was the author of twenty-eight books in all, chiefly about foreign affairs and about his travels in South-East Asia, Africa and Europe. He also wrote an autobiography, This is my life , published in 1937. Vernon Bartlett died on January 18 1983.


--> Bartlett, Vernon, 1894-1983

Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett was born on April 30 1894 at Westbury, Wiltshire and educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton. After being invalided out of the army during the First World War, he began his career as a journalist, joining the Daily Mail as a general reporter. In 1917 he joined the staff of Reuters, which later sent him to cover the Paris peace conference. Subsequently he became a foreign correspondent for The Times, and it was his experiences in reporting from post-war Europe which led him to become the director of the London office of the League of Nations in 1922, a post which he held for a decade. During this period he began to broadcast for the BBC on foreign affairs, including from 1928 the weekly series The Way of the World .

His broadcasting career suffered a setback in 1933, when comments that he made about Germany's withdrawal from the Geneva disarmament conference were misinterpreted as pro-Nazi. Despite many letters in his support, the BBC decided that it would be best if he were not a member of their staff, and Bartlett therefore resigned, joining the News Chronicle, for whom he was to serve as a diplomatic correspondent for twenty years.

In 1938, after Neville Chamberlain's return from Munich, Bartlett stood for Parliament as an anti-appeasement independent candidate and won, becoming MP for Bridgwater, which had previously been considered a safe Tory seat. He held the seat until 1950 and became known for his contributions to parliamentary debates on foreign affairs. Bartlett was a member of the 1941 Committee which published reports calling for nationalisation and post-war welfare.

During the Second World War Bartlett's experience in broadcasting was put to use and he was involved in producing and conveying official propaganda. As well as the Postscript series of evening talks, aimed at boosting domestic morale, he broadcast frequently to America, and also to France, Germany and Scandinavia. He also served as British press attach in Moscow for a time in 1941.

After his retirement from the News Chronicle in 1954 Bartlett moved to Singapore, where he was both political commentator for the Straits Times and South East Asia correspondent for the Manchester Guardian . In 1956 he was appointed CBE. In 1961 he moved to Tuscany, where he ran a vineyard and continued to write. He was the author of twenty-eight books in all, chiefly about foreign affairs and about his travels in South-East Asia, Africa and Europe. He also wrote an autobiography, This is my life, published in 1937. Vernon Bartlett died on January 18 1983.

From the guide to the Papers of Vernon Bartlett, 1928-1973, (Reading University: Special Collections Services)


Research

Celebrity Casting!!
Local activist and Sedgemoor Labour councillor Bob Brookes in the role of Acting returning officer Longman. (He also provided voice over for the part of CP leader Harry Pollit)

The story of the Bartlett election was developed through a series of interviews in Spring 1988 done by Smedley with Sir Richard Acland in his Broadclyst cottage, Tom Edmunds (in a caravan in Exmouth) and Basil Lott (several letters and numerous phone calls) plus reminiscences of Bridgwaters eldest statesman Cllr John Turner, Bud’s son Gordon Fisher, and 1938 Bristol Hotel chambermaid Hilda Pound.

The plot within a plot was drawn from the experiences of Mary Smedley (the author’s mother) based on her own family in the Leeds back to backs of the 1930s. The characters were all true to life and matched aunties, uncles and grandparents – all now long gone.

In the story, Harry terrorises his family and no-one stands up to his ‘hand me down’ violence. Celia the youngest is his immediate victim and Polly likely to be next. Rebecca is already setting an example of resistance in her domestic battleground with her husband Frank and is eventually, left alone to her fate, killed by him. Eventually Tommy and Joe stand up to Harry and unite (what’s left of) the family again. This rather blatant allegory maybe doesn’t need explaining..but for the sake of historical reference (and future pleas for transparency in scriptwriting) Celia (Czechoslovakia) Polly (Poland) Rebecca (Republican Spain) Frank (Fascist Spain) Benny (Fascist Italy) Tommy (Britain) Frances (France) and Joe (The Soviet Union). It couldn’t be clearer.

I’m sure we’d have included an America… but he would’ve probably only turned up in the middle of the next play….


What can’t be accessed so easily are ‘Reminiscences’. It’s a valuable part of any communities social history that people should record their memories for posterity. In this respect I am grateful to Dave Chapple – whose Somerset Socialist Library project maintains and develops valuable records of interviews with people who took part in historical events (even if they didn’t know it at the time) and maintains them for future generations to cross reference and learn from.

Daves book Bridgwater 1924-1927 – Class Conflict in a Somerset Town, is one valuable reference source for the interwar years and will soon be joined by many more volumes based on Daves’ research.

In this respect I also personally interviewed the following people for their own memories of the Election – Sir Richard Acland, Basil Lott, Tom Edmunds, Hilda Pound, Gordon Fisher, Maurice Spender, Bert Gardner, Ivor Davies, Bob Rogers all now sadly passed away whilst John Turner and Ken Richards-both Labour councillors who grew up in the town in the 30s, are thankfully still with us.

I am also grateful to the people who visited the original website and subsequently got in touch. Notably Alastair Kinross, grand-son of Cresswell Webb, who supplied additional information and photographs. Also to Somerset author John Fletcher, whose play “Sea Change” was set during the Bridgwater By-Election and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 (link below).


History

Bates County was named in honor of Frederick Bates, the second governor of Missouri, who died in office August 14, 1825. Missionaries from New York settled the first community in Bates County, Harmony Mission, for the purpose of educating Indians. When Bates County organized and separated from Cass County in 1841, county commissioners selected Harmony Mission as the first county seat, presumably because of the established development and central location.

After first meeting in a private home, subsequent courts met in the Mission House until 1847 when the county seat moved to Papinville, three miles southeast of Harmony Mission.

Orders for building the first courthouse, at Papinville, came in November 1852, when the court appointed Freeman Barrows superintendent and appropriated $2,500. The following month Barrows submitted a plan and the court accepted bids. But, in August 1853 Abraham Redfield replaced Barrows as superintendent and produced plans and specifications prepared by Fritzpatrick and Hurt from Benton County (Fritzpatrick’s name also appears as Fitzpatrick.) The court appropriated $4,200 for the 35-by-60-foot brick building. It was completed in 1855. After 1856, when the county seat moved to Butler, Philip Seal bought the courthouse and converted it to business use. Destruction by fire came in 1861, during the Civil War.

In 1855, after an area separated to become Vernon County, Papinville was no longer near the geographic center of Bates County. The original plan for dividing Butler’s land into building lots, commonly called a plat, was filed and recorded in August 1853. Fifty-five acres donated to the county induced officials to move the county seat to Butler in 1856. The court ordered 50-by-50-foot brick courthouse at an estimated cost of $5,000. Fritzpatrick and Hurt again served as contractors. This building, too, burned in 1861.

Because of the attack on Lawrence, Kansas by Missouri guerrillas, on August 25, 1863 the infamous Order #11 was issued by General Thomas Ewing [click on these websites Missouri and the Civil War and GENERAL ORDER for more details]. This order forced all residents of Bates and Cass Counties to vacate their homes within 15 days. Bates County was put to the torch as Missouri endured 1,100 of the 6,600 engagements and battles fought in the Civil War. During this time courts were held in locations other than the county seat. In May 1864 the court met at Johnstown. The legislature recognized Pleasant Gap as the official county seat in 1865, and the sheriff was ordered to prepare a clerk’s office and courtroom.

At the end of the Civil War, Bates County citizens returned to find burnt out structures, a devastated county seat and desolate land. At the November 1865 term, the court appropriated $750 for clerk’s office and courthouse. The courthouse was to measure 16 by 24 feet, the clerk’s office 16 feet square, and both 10 feet high. Later appropriations raised the sum to $1,100. John D. Meyers, county clerk, served as superintendent, and the court authorized him to select the location for this interim courthouse. Old settlers recalled the frame building situated in the northeast corner of the square.

After several attempts, plans for the 1869 courthouse crystallized. Plans of architect P. B. Leach and specifications submitted by Samuel Ward were adopted. In April 1869 the court awarded the building contract to J. B. Linkenpaughfor $23,000. Cornerstone ceremonies, held on July 15, 1869, were reported in the Bates County Record, then reprinted in the 1883 History.

This 75-foot-square brick building, in the center of the 300-foot public square, had five rooms on the first floor, three on the second and two large rooms on the third floor, leased by local civic or fraternal organizations. In 1899, after being declared unsafe, the building was sold for $500 to the highest bidder, J. S. Francisco. The court moved into temporary quarters in January 1900.

A successful election for $40,000 in bonds was supplemented by $10,000 from general funds. This provided $50,000 for a new courthouse. George McDonald was chosen architect for the 80-by-105-foot building. The courthouse of 1901 is similar to three other Missouri 19 th century courthouses by the same architect: Andrew County, 1899 Johnson County, 1896 and Lawrence County, 1900. Contractors for this building, which was built with Carthage stone, were Bartlett and Kling, Galesburg, Illinois. Excavation began during July 1901 the cornerstone was laid October 10, 1901, and the court accepted the completed building in July of 1902. It is still in use as the Bates County courthouse.

COUNTY ORGANIZATION

At the session of the general assembly in the winter of 1840-1841 “An Act was passed to organize counties therein named , and defined the boundaries thereof.” Under that act fourteen countries were organized, of which Bates County was one , and is comprised in sections 34-35 and 36, of the act above.

BATES COUNTY

“SECTION 34. All that portion of territory included within the following description limits, via: Beginning on the western boundary line of this state, at the southwest corner of Van Buren County thence east to the southeast corner of said county thence south on the range line and 34 thence west on said township line to the western line of the state thence north on said line to the place of beginning, is hereby created a separate and distinct county, to be called and known by the name of the county of Bates.

Sec 35. Thomas b. Arnot, of the county of VanBuren Robert M. White, of Johnson County, and Cornelius Davy, of Jackson County, are hereby appointed commissioners to select the permanent seat of justice for said county.”

“Sec. 36. The circuit and county courts for said county shall be held at James Allen’s , at the old Harmony Mission, until the permanent seat of justice is established, or the county court shall otherwise direct. ”

AN ACT ATTACHING PART OF CASS TO BATES COUNTY.

On the 22 nd day of February, 1855, an act was approved attaching a part of Cass County to Bates that act reads:

Section 1. All that part of Cass County included in and made part of the late county of Vernon by an act entitled. “An act to establish the county of Vernon, ” approved the 17 th of February, 1851, and which late county of Vernon was afterwards decided to be unconstitutional, is hereby attached to and made part of Bates County.

Sec. 2. All the justices of the peace and constables now acting in that part of Cass here added to Bates are hereby empowered to hold and discharge the duties of their respective offices in the county of Bates until the next general election, but should any of them neglect or refuse so to do, then the county court of Bates are authorized to supply their places by appointment.

Not only was a portion of Cass County (the part above referred to) once a portion of Vernon County, but Vernon included as well the county of Bates. The act of the legislature establishing Vernon County was approved February 17, 1851, and was as follows:

All the territory included in the following limits, to wit: Beginning on the western boundary line of the state of Missouri, at the section corner dividing sections seven and eighteen (18) in township thirty-eight, of range thirty-three thence east with the line dividing said sections to the line of St. Clair County thence north with the line separating the counties of Bates and St. Clair to the southwest corner of Henry County thence continuing north with the line separating Cass and Henry Counties, to the middle of the main channel of Grand River thence up the main channel of Grand River to the line dividing townships forty-two and forty-three thence west with the line separating said township forty-two and three, to said western boundary line thence south with said boundary line to the beginning, is hereby created a separate and distinct county, for all civil and military purposes, to be called the county of Vernon, in honor of Miles Vernon, of Laclede County.

It will thus be seen that Vernon County embraced Bates and the southern parts of Cass. The southern part of Cass. The new county, however was to remain such, provided the people residing in the territory included therein should ratify the act at the polls in August, 1851.

The act creating the new county of Vernon was soon declared unconstitutional, which left the county of Bates as originally erected until 1855, when as stated the southern part of Cass was added to it. During the same year (1855) Vernon County, as now formed, was organized and a portion of the southern part of Bates that was added to Vernon was two miles in width and thirty miles in length.


An Era Ends

By the early 1820's the old meetinghouse was no longer adequate for the growing town, and in 1826 a new church was built on the West side of Hartford Turnpike at the corner of Center Road.

The original meetinghouse was moved to Rockville in 1831 or 1832 and made the east wing of the old Frank Mill, later known as the Florence Mill. It served as a part of the mill until it was destroyed by fire in 1853. (Prescott, Abbott)

Originally a slab, a gift of the heirs of George Maxwell marked the spot where the church stood. In October 1962, on the 200th anniversary of the church, a plaque was placed on Sunnyview Drive at the site of our first Meetinghouse.

In 1908 Vernon celebrated its 100th anniversary. In the official program, page 81 (See Smith) was a lengthy poem by Jans B. Julow on the growth and development of Vernon and Rockville. The ninth stanza reads:

"At the beginning when but few,
They worshiped in the distant hills:
However, when their numbers grew,
They built a church, so good and true,
Near where the turnpike crossed the hills.
About the church a little plain
Lay sheltered from the northeast gales
Here houses formed a village chain,
Here stopped the stage to leave the mails."


Vernon Bartlett

opens IMAGE file In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain was in Munich signing an agreement with Hitler and Mussolini. It was the &ldquoPeace in our time&rdquo document with which Chamberlain returned as a hero. But not everyone believed in the integrity of the agreement. Vernon Bartlett was a journalist and broadcaster with a Belgian wife. He had seen at first hand what was happening in Europe and didn&rsquot believe for one minute that Hitler&rsquos intentions were sincere and wanted Parliament to understand that.

In November 1938 there was a bye-election in Bridgwater in which Bartlett stood as an Independent candidate. His opponent was Patrick Heathcote-Amory who expected an easy victory in a constituency which was rock-solid Tory. Bartlett&rsquos platform was a one-issue &ldquoAnti-Hitler&rdquo stand. The government did not want to see him win and use the Parliamentary platform to stir up the European issue. Bartlett won with a landslide and used his new position as an MP to challenge the &ldquoMunich Agreement&rdquo. He turned out to be the most respected MP the town ever had.


Invasion Diary

T uesday, June 6. I turned on the radio for the eight a.m. news. The announcer spoke about special warnings which had been broadcast to our Allies in Western Europe. There was even a mention of German reports of Allied invasion barges off the French shore. But I was staying in a hotel in a quiet and comfortable little town between the wild country of Exmoor and the Bristol Channel, and most of the hotel guests were either elderly retired people whose days of struggle were over or people who had been bombed out of their homes and had taken refuge in this peaceful part of the world. Four years ago, night after night, one heard aircraft flying overhead to South Wales and one could see the fires blazing along the northern shore of these narrow waters that stretch up to the ancient port and city of Bristol. But four years is a long time. And escapism is a very contagious disease. So nobody at breakfast had much to say about the news.

Nevertheless D-day has come. Yesterday I was told flatly and firmly by an elderly and querulous ex-official from one of the remoter British colonies that there would be no invasion of Europe. He was indignant when I reminded him that this view was shared by many of the Communists. Another “phony war” legend has been destroyed.

The calmness of it all! I was told later that in London many people who did not hear the morning news bulletins knew nothing of the invasion until midday. Even at Allied headquarters one young man of my acquaintance heard the news only when it was more than three hours old. There was no shouting, no cheering, no excitement, and little comment.

Everything went on so much as usual that a puzzled American officer grew quite angry with his English secretary. “Don’t you care?” he demanded. She cared. But with us in Britain probably more than with you in America, tension has relaxed but anxiety has taken its place. We are so much nearer the fighting. So many of our homes have already been bombed. Above all, we have had so many setbacks that we dare not be jubilant.

Four years ago yesterday Mr. Churchill made his great speech of defiance in the House of Commons. “We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds, in the fields, in the streets, and in the hills. We shall never surrender.” Yes. We care. But experience has taught us to be cautious. Four years ago, in the lazy warm June weather, those of us who live in southern England could hear the guns across the Channel pounding the beaches of Dunkirk. Ever since those days, all the preparation in our training camps, all the work in our factories, has been carried out with the intention of somehow and some way sending another expeditionary force across the Channel to France to begin the liberation of Europe and remove the humiliation of our own defeat. Now that expeditionary force has sailed. But as on September 3, 1939, so on June 6, 1944, there is a strange feeling of anticlimax.

Then we expected immediate and terrible air raids and gas attacks now we expect the immediate use against us of some of the secret weapons of which preliminary and unpleasant details have reached us through neutral countries. In these first hours of invasion there is no such disturbance. But, much more than that, the sense of anticlimax comes from the fact that there is nothing immediate and new that we civilians can do. Life goes on too much as usual.

A s a member of Parliament I am visiting my constituency, which contains some of the richest agricultural fields and also some of the wildest moorland in the south of England. D-day has come, but there is nothing I can do to help. So, in common with most other people in this country, I set out today to fulfill my normal program.

I spent the morning in a remote little village through which the Romans, whose example in invasion Hitler failed to follow, used to bring the iron ore from the great range of hills that overshadow it: a village so remote that in it one is tempted to look upon the war as an annoying act of God or the devil which has added immensely to the work and also to the wealth of the farmers but has robbed them of their sons and workers. Two land girls, felling trees with great lumber axes, were the first people who told me definitely that Allied troops were on French soil. They had heard the news when the normal radio program, blaring out from a neighboring cottage, had been interrupted so that this announcement could be made.

Until the war turned them into incipient experts in forestry, both these girls had served in stores in large cities. One of them had a husband who, she believed, would now be on his way to France. Their foreman, an ex-soldier of the last war, who had been bombed out of his home at the naval base of Portsmouth, said something that, I think, is at the back of most people’s minds in England today. “This is the end of Jerry, but I expect he will take a lot of punishment before he’s knocked out. And so shall we.”

From an account published in the August 1944 issue of Harper’s Magazine, several weeks after the Allied landing at Normandy. Bartlett was a British journalist and broadcaster elected to the House of Commons in 1938 on an anti-appeasement platform. His complete diary is available here.


Watch the video: Disposition Self Assessment Vernon Bartlett (August 2022).