FRED WEBSTER – A MAN WITH A VISION

Once in a lifetime, if you’re very lucky, you meet someone so unique, so full of life, and so creative that you are left in total awe. Fred Webster of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is one of those individuals. He is a jolly guy who works hard and thoroughly enjoys what he is doing. He is a retired Vocational Agriculture Teacher who tells great stories about his life, his vocation, his vision and farm history. No one tells them better.

 

FRED FEEDING THE COAL STOVE

FRED FEEDING THE COAL STOVE – Without the grates it works just fine for wood logs!

At 93 years old Fred continues to focus on his dream which is to have an information center that shows the progression of farm equipment as it evolved. He has more than 1,500 pieces of farm equipment and other machinery from the past.

He stores his collection in buildings which he started to put up when he turned 65. They were built from old barns that farmers were going to tear down. He has 80,000 square feet of storage space and 300 acres of land to store his treasures.

When Fred was 88 he decided he wanted to start building stage coaches — so he did. He also started collecting other forms of transportation.

CURRENT PROJECT

FINISHED STAGECOACHES

OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION

AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE …. PICTURE THE MEDICINE MAN STANDING ON THE PLATFORM OF THIS WAGON PITCHING HIS MAGIC CURE ALL POTION TO THE FOLKS….

COOL WAGON

COOL WAGON

It would seem preserving the history and evolution of farming lies in Fred Webster’s hands. Fred and his son, Daniel, have tagged and videotaped every one of the over 1500 items and it’s likely they have the largest collection of farm tools in New England.

Things were not always easy for Fred. He had eight children which he raised by himself after his wife left him. It was a very difficult time for him, but he managed and learned a lesson that we all should embrace: “Don’t rise above pain, let it be part of your life, let it be part of who you are.”

At age 68 Fred was blessed when he met Vivian at a square dance, they fell in love and married less than a year later.

Once upon a time Fred was called “Crazy Fred”! No one calls him that anymore. Today Fred is famous! It’s no surprise that the American Pickers came to visit and if you ever find yourself in the Northeast Kingdom you too may be fortunate enough to meet the one and only amazing Fred Webster — a man with a vision.

The American Pickers’ episode “Backroads Barnstorming” will be aired on the History channel September 26 at 8 PM CST.

Thank you Courtney Mead for arranging for us to meet Fred.  It was a wonderful experience.  (Photos by Heidi Schmidt and Bill Toninato)

10 Comments on “FRED WEBSTER – A MAN WITH A VISION

  1. Yes indeed my Dad and my brother Daniel who video’d all of Dad’s collection are one and two of a kind. Thanks so much Heidi for the comments and pics.

  2. Sue Bourque ( Sargent)
    September 27, 2014
    Fred is a wonderful man and I think what he has done is just marvelous. He has always had an interest in agriculture, cars, and history. So happy to know him and I have great respect for him.

    • Gary, Fred lives in Coventry, Vermont. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I’m going to refer you to his daughter, Paulette.

  3. I now live in one of mr. Websters buildings that he had previously owned, and saved from being tore down. It is the oldest standing building, in the town of Coventry. I had the chance to talk with him about the history of this building, and i was in awe. He is so full of knowledge, it was amazing. When he has a child he went to school here. Then, was eventually a teacher here for quite some time, and his stories had me laughing. Years later the building was to be tore down, and he sved its history, and had it moved to where it is now. I love the history here, and can’t wait till i have the opportunity to one day, hopefully sit on his porch with him, sip an ice tea, look out over his property, and listen to more of his stories. He really is a true treasure himself.

  4. MR WEBSTER LIVED IN A SMALL TOWN IN NEW YORK CALLED COXSACKIE. WHERE IS TAUGHT FOR A WHILE. RECENTLY HE WAS HONORED BY THE CLASS OF COXSACKIE-ATHENS 1966 AT THEIR REUNION, AND RETURNED FOR A VISIT. I WAS BLESSED THAT HE STOPPED TO VISIT ME AT MY OLD FAMILY HOME. HE IS A TRUE INSPIRATION , AND HOLD’S A WEALTH OF INFORMATION THAT HE LOVES TO SHARE WITH EVERYONE. HE IS ONE AMAZING MAN. SINCERELY JOANNE ADAMO CONWAY

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