Voluntown Peace Trust
"Built circa 1750 for Dr. John Campbell, the local physician, the Farmhouse is the central building as you enter the VPT property from Beach Pond Road (CT-165).
"It features a traditional central chimney with a main hearth in the kitchen and fireplaces in a number of the bedrooms, and is said to have been a stop on the underground railroad, with slaves hiding in the secret rooms built into the central stonework of the basement.
"The Farmhouse has been renovated on numerous occasions, most recently in the mid-90s under the direction of Chuck Matthei, Equity Trust founder and former Executive Director.
"In 1962, the property, historically known as the Campbell Farm, was purchased by Mary Meigs for $12,500 from Homer and Helena Herbert. The family was unaware that Meigs' intention was to turn the property over to Robert and Marjorie Swann. The Swanns were an activist couple who had been doing anti-militarism work as part of the New England Committee for Nonviolent Action (NECNVA).
"The Swanns met Meigs through her then-partner Barbara Deming in the summer of 1960. That summer, Deming, a journalist, had attended a sixteen-day Peacemaker training session held at their apartment house in New London. Deming, at the time a reporter for The Nation magazine, had become a pacifist after traveling with Meigs through India in 1959 and reading the writings of Mohandas Gandhi. She was further politicized after traveling earlier that year to Cuba where, interviewing both ordinary citizens and Fidel Castro, she came to see the extent to which the US government was demonizing both Cuba and Castro.
"Deming, Meigs, and the Swanns remained friends for many years, and the Swanns were frequent summer visitors to Meigs and Deming's home in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Although Meigs was primarily an artist and author, she and Deming were deeply involved in the development of NECNVA, both served on the Regional Committee and Deming on the Executive Committee."
Resources and articles
- Voluntown Peace Trust History, organizational web page, accessed March 15, 2014.