Baileys Mills/Spite CemeteryApr 08, 2021 02:41PM ● By Thomas D’Agostino
One of the most interesting legends of New England takes place in the small village of Reading, Vermont, just southeast of Rutland. If you venture down a small gravel lane known as Bailey’s Mills Road, you will come to a building that now resides as a bed and breakfast. The home came into the possession of the Innkeeper, Barbara Thaeder’s family, in the mid 1960s. The small road travels directly in front of the house before turning up a hill and out of sight through a narrow valley. In the winter, it is not advisable to travel the road any further than the Bailey’s Mills front door. Bailey’s Mills Bed and Breakfast also sports another eye-catching parcel of land just outside its doors. It is a sizeable burial ground that makes up what would have been the front yard. Although this may not be out of the ordinary to New England, the name of the cemetery and the reason for it being there is a tale for the telling.
Levi Bailey purchased the dam and mill in 1794. Between 1800 to his death in 1850 the enterprise prospered and Bailey continued to expand his industrial complex until the land held a three story woolen factory, several other mills, a blacksmith shop and a company store. Employees of the complex lived in a brick house and were paid in company script, meaning that they could only buy their goods at the company store, no doubt giving Bailey a chance to recoup his wages paid out.
In 1808, Bailey wished to expand beyond his property to a lot across the small lane, which at that period in time was a state road. Levi inquired his neighbor, David Hapgood; in good faith to purchase a piece of property that lay just across the street from his but Hapgood, who was irritated by the mere sight of Bailey, outright refused.
Persistent proposals to purchase Hapgood’s piece of property were met with harsh denials. As time wore on, Bailey began to resent his neighbor and at one point yelled over to the man that he was getting on in years and when his time came the property would be taken. Hapgood, knowing this to be true, made arrangements for the land in such a way that his nemesis would never acquire it. He donated it to the town for use as a burial ground. To make matters more infuriating to Bailey, when John Hapgood died in 1829, he was among the first to be buried in the cemetery. Every morning Bailey would tend to his businesses having to confront the gravestone of Hapgood sitting spitefully on the land he would never have. For this reason the burial ground is now called Spite Cemetery but there is an interesting epilogue to the story.
Levi Bailey also purchased a burial plot for his family in the cemetery and when he died October 21, 1850, at the age of eighty-five, he was buried right near his neighbor. This may have been a final attempt for Bailey to spite Hapgood as he did acquire the land he so desired, although not as much, and for eternity instead.
The bed and breakfast sits along the small lane with the cemetery in lovely Reading, Vermont. Take a trip and stay a night for the home also houses a few spirits of the past. Nothing harmful, or even spiteful, just good old Vermont ghosts keeping to themselves in a place where time seems to have slowed down to a relaxing pace.
Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting www.tomdagostino.com.