Previously the land of Abenaki Indians, the town that would become Brattleboro was founded in 1723 as Fort Dummer, as a military stockade to protect against French invaders. The original fort was named for William Dummer.
Today, Brattleboro is known for its quiet New England way of life, arts community, and autumn colors.
People Born in Brattleboro
Brattleboro in People's Lives
Rudyard Kipling: After our plans of a marvelous 'round-the-world honeymoon were dashed in Yokohama, Japan by the news that our bank had failed, taking all of our savings with it, my new wife Carrie and I sailed back here in 1892 and rented a small, peaceful cottage for $10 a month. Carrie was pregnant with our first child. We furnished the house simply, bought nothing new, and pinched pennies. Despite our new simplicity of lifestyle, we were both "extraordinarily content." I named our humble abode "Bliss Cottage." In the cottage's tiny workroom, I began writing the book I would become best known for, The Jungle Book. I worked on the book in the middle of winter with snow on the windowsill, writing of hot Indian nights. My first daughter, Josephine, was born on the snowy night of December 29, 1892. Since my birthday was December 30th and Carrie's was December 31st, we were delighted, and "congratulated her on her sense of the fitness of things." As much as we enjoyed our daughter's company, however, our tiny cottage now seemed unbearable, and so we decided to buy 10 acres of land just outside this town, from Carrie's brother. We built our own house, and named it Naulakha, in honor of a writing collaboration I had done years ago with Carrie's deceased brother, my former best friend. The architecture of Lahore was a major inspiration for the house. Once finished, it was perfect - a secluded, large, exotic looking retreat that I called my "ship," saying that it brought me "sunshine and a mind at ease." I also got quite a bit of writing done, and in four years published The Jungle Book, a book of short stories called The Day's Work, Captains Courageous, a poetry volume called The Seven Seas, and another poetry book, Barrack-Room Ballads. As The Jungle Book became a bestseller, I enjoyed reading letters that children wrote me about it, and almost always wrote them back. I also had a steady stream of visitors while at Naulakha. Carrie's family visited often, as they lived in the area, and my father visited after retiring in 1893. My friend Arthur Conan Doyle came to stay, and brought his golf clubs and quite a lot of golf lessons. From then on, I enjoyed playing golf, even in the snow (I painted the balls red). I loved the vibrant seasons of Vermont, especially autumn, and was fascinated each year by the beauty of the changing leaves. In 1896, our second daughter, Elsie, was born. My marriage with Carrie had fallen into a settled order that lacked romance. I wrote to a friend that had recently gotten engaged a rather downputting letter, describing marriage as more of a chore than a delight. However, overall, my time in this town was one of the happiest of my life. I would have been perfectly content to live here for the rest of my life, but it was not to be. Firstly, in 1895, relations between England and the United States were growing strained over a border and land dispute in Guyana. There was an expectation of war, and I was bewildered at the strong anti-British atmosphere, especially in the press. Reading their far from neutral reports, I felt even less warmth toward newspapers and journalists, whom I had already had a bad time with in the past. A journalist once camped outside my door, demanding an interview, which I refused. After finding that he would not go away, I told him sternly that I had never given an interview, and never would. The poor man was persistant, but to no avail: I slammed my door in his face. In 1895, I announced that I intended to soon relocate our family. Shortly afterward, in 1896, relations with Carrie's family grew tense. Her brother Beatty had become an alcoholic and insolvent. One day, when he encountered me in the street - drunk, of course - he yelled and threatened me physically. He was arrested, but with the hearing, legal charges, rampant publicity, and attention of the media, my private and secluded life of tranquility was shattered. I felt depressed and exhausted, and the whole miserable thing wasn't even over yet. While the trial was still going on, I decided that I had had enough. I told my family to pack their bags, and we sailed for Torquay, England.