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The “Rest of the Story” on the Vermont Christian upbringing of A.A.’s Cofounders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob.
At long last, the entire state of Vermont is beginning to come alive on the relationship of A.A.’s cofounders to that state, the similarity of the cofounders’ Christian upbringing there, and the immensity of the varied influences the Green Mountain State had on Bill and Bob.
Here is a comment just made to keep the new play writes, producers, authors, and accounts accurate:
There is now a brand new book, which is partly the product of the research work of a large group of AAs who traveled with Dick B. and Ken B. to St. Johnsbury. The title is Bill W. and Dr. Bob. the Green Mountain Men of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.A.’s Original Program.
This new book by A,A. authors and historians Dick B. and Ken B. provides the full panoply of similar events in the lives of Bill and Bob in Vermont, and of the people and places there who influenced them: (1) East Dorset Congregational Church, (2) Manchester Congregational Church, (3) North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury, (4) Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester, (5) St. Johnsbury Academy, (6) the Young Men’s Christian Association, (7) Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, (8) Ebby Thacher, (9) Rev. Sidney Perkins of Manchester Congregational Church, (10) Roger Perkins, (11) Rogers Burnham. (12) the Burnham family, including Lois–who “summered” in Manchester and nearby Emerald Lake. (13) Bill’s girl-friend Bertha Bamford, (14) Bertha Bamford’s father, the Episcopal Rector in Manchester, (15) Rowland Hazard, (16) F. Shepard Cornell, (17) Cebra Graves, (18) Cebra’s father–the judge who heard Ebby’s case. (19) Judge Walter Smith, Bob’s father, (20) Mrs. Susan Smith, Bob’s mother, (21) Amanda Northrup, his foster sister, and (22) his maternal grandmother, (23) the entire Fairbanks family of St. Johnsbury, (24) the Great Evangelists who came to St. Johnsbury (Dwight Moody, Ira Sankey, Allen Folger, and several others), (25) Bill’s boyhood friend Mark Whalon, (26) Bill’s mother who is buried at East Dorset, (27) Bill’s father, and the activity of the Wilson couple in Congregationalism, (28) Bill’s grandfather Willie Wilson who was a founder of East Congregational Church, owned a family pew  there, and held position of leadership in the church, and who was cured of alcoholism in a conversion experience atop Mt. Aeolus at East Dorset, (29) Bill’s grandfather Fayette Griffith who enrolled Bill in Sunday school, enrolled him in Burr and Burton Seminary and frequently studied the Bible with Bill. Fayette’s family regarded the East Dorset Congregational Church as their family church; and Bill’s parents were married there.
(30) Burr and Burton Seminary played a major role in Bill’s Christian upbringing. Bill there took a four year Bible study course; attended daily chapel at the seminary where there were sermons, hymns, reading of Scripture, and prayers; attended events at Manchester Congregational Church which had close connections with the seminary; became president of the Young Men’s Christian Association there at the same time his girl friend Bertha Bamford was president of the Young Women’s Christian Association and the two attended “Y” activities together. When Bertha died unexpectedly, Bill couldn’t complete his studies or graduate from Burr and Burton because of a deep depression.
Bill blamed God for his girl friend’s death; and he turned his back on God until, many years later. Then, at the urging of Dr. Silkworth and Ebby, Bill went to Calvary Mission and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, just as Ebby had done before him. Bill wrote “For sure I was born again.” And he staggered on to Towns Hospital, cried out to God for help, had a “white light” experience in his hospital room, said to himself: “Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures.” Bill was sure he had had a vital religious experience. He was cured of alcoholism. He never again doubted the existence of God. And he believed he had been commissioned to carry his victory message to alcoholics round the world.
And there is one other facet of Bill’s Christian upbringing. He finally returned to Norwich University–the military academy which also had daily chapel and where Ebby matriculated with Bill.
The remarkable similarity in the Vermont Christian upbringing of these two co-founders involves their families who attended Congregational Churches, their association with Young Men’s Christian Association, their attendance at academies which had the same Christian requirements–church, Bible study, daily chapel, and prayer meetings, and grandparents who further encouraged and supported their attendance.
There are three books which bring “the rest of the story” home to those who want to hear it and want God’s help in recovery: (1) The Conversion of Bill W. http://www.dickb.com/conversion.shtml. (2) Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Bible as a Youngster in Vermont. http://www.dickb.com/drbobofaa.shtml. (3) Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.A.’s Original Program, by Dick B. and Ken B.
Dozens and dozens of photos that can open the scene to you can be found at http://drbobinfo.