In the 1840s, people
across Vermont and much of the northeast were preparing for judgment
day. A local preacher, William Miller, had predicted in the 1820s that the end
was coming, and that it would be sometime between March of 1843 and March of
1844. Many of his followers, "the Millerites," sold or gave away their
possessions and their land, and chose not to plant their crops. When the day came, they donned white ascension robes and went to churches and
streams, rooftops and mountains to wait for the end. Their reactions, when it
didn’t come, are collectively described as "The Great Disappointment."
We learn more about the
Millerites from Paul Searls, a professor of history at Lyndon State College and
executive board member of the Center for Research on Vermont, from Ray Patterson, a professor of religious studies at
St. Michael’s College, and from Margo Caulfield, coordinator of the Cavendish
Also on the program, we
explore the Vermont-Swiss connection with current Swiss Ambassador Francois
Barras, and former Swiss Ambassador – and former governor – Madeleine Kunin.