Friday, September 22, 2023

Nonprofit Spotlight: Cornerstone Assembly of God

Why Attend Church?

By Linda M. Page

Are you lonely, even when surrounded by people?

Cornerstone Assembly of God Church is located at 48 Cottage
Road in Windham. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Do you feel unfulfilled in your job, marriage or family?

Are you dissatisfied with your life- always wanting more money, or a better house, car, toys, spouse and kids?

Have you reached the end of your limits and don’t know who to turn to for help?

You certainly are not alone! Covid and the resulting isolation exacerbated all these negative thoughts and emotions and has either morphed into depression and anxiety or has caused us to rethink our lives. We may feel like there’s a deep hole inside us that never seems to be filled. Something is missing that we can’t put our finger on.

Some of us have started searching for a new life purpose and/or a higher power to find answers or give meaning to our earthly existence. For those who are unsatisfied and wanting something more beyond their daily routines, hurts and struggles, have you considered attending a church and joining Christians in hearing and exploring the Word of God, finding community and opportunities for serving others, building strength to persevere in life’s trials, and bringing new meaning and depth into your lives?

There are many churches of various denominations in the area that are waiting to welcome new members and we are one of them. The people here at Cornerstone Assembly of God come from diverse backgrounds and religious affiliations or no past history of church attendance. We strive to care for and love one another as we are able, and recognize that we are not perfect - that’s why we are here too. Hearing and reading God’s word in the bible has a way of making us recognize and deal with our faults instead of blaming others for our own failures and misdeeds. It doesn’t happen in a day, it’s a lifelong journey taken intentionally and it becomes a way of life.

At Cornerstone Assembly of God you will find a family that serves a God of hope, peace and love and in the process build faith and trust in Jesus, God’s son, who sacrificed His life (on a cross) to make a way for us to be with Him in Heaven one day. His death covered all our sins and no matter where the road of life has taken you, what mistakes you have made, and what pain you may carry from your past - He is ready to accept, forgive, and heal you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”- John 3:16. You just need to be willing to take the first step, accept His free offer of salvation and make a fresh new start! It’s never been easy to follow Christ and learn from His example but it’s rewarding to be His hands and feet in service to others while on this earth.

Maybe you are NOT lonely, NOT unsatisfied, NOT unfulfilled but already living a highly blessed life. What better way to show your thankfulness than to visit the church and join in worship and praise to the Almighty God who made it all possible. We are a small but welcoming group of people who are eager to get to know and embrace you as part of their congregation.

Several members have been with the church for over 30 years and can remember times when the seats were filled with multiple generations. Many were younger married couples with children, some were homeschooling their kids and/or nursing or pregnant moms eager to get together with a common purpose, needing support and fellowship, and finding it amongst themselves and in an older generation who was there to guide and direct them. We weren’t without struggles or misunderstandings at home or within the church but stayed and brought up their children there, forged lifelong friendships, volunteered, and served faithfully in many capacities in church ministries and in the community. The children have long since grown, many have moved away and are now married and having kids of their own.

Now we are in a new season of this church’s life and some things are different and some are still the same. In the words of our current Pastor, Ben Adler:

“We are a group of Bible-believers and Jesus followers. We are not perfect people, but we believe we worship a perfect God who came to earth as Jesus Christ and lived a perfect life. We open our arms to anyone who walks into our building. At Cornerstone, we want to build healthy relationships with God and each other. Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We know that life won’t always be roses and butterflies. If you come to visit, you’ll notice we won’t be preaching that everyone will have happiness, wealth, and fame for all their days. What you will notice though is that we preach that even on the worst days and through every hardship, God loves us, we love each other, and God has a plan, he is still on the throne and we have hope and peace through His Son.”

Over time, as in many churches today, we have seen a decline in attendance and in the way the church is viewed with a growing sense of irrelevance. If you would like to be a part of rebuilding our membership, growing and serving within a community of believers, and bringing up the next generation with traditional morals and values then please join us here at 10 a.m. for Sunday Services and Children’s Church where we welcome kids of all abilities. Our Men’s and Women’s Small Group Bible Studies meet every Wednesday morning. We also participate in Operation Christmas Child, which provides gifts and supplies to needy children worldwide to introduce the love of God. For details and to build your own OCC box visit:

Cornerstone Assembly of God Church is located at 48 Cottage Road in Windham. Pastor Ben Adler and the members welcome you with open arms. For more info call 207-892-5980 email or visit <

Friday, September 15, 2023

It Takes a Village 207 makes difference in lives of homeless veterans and local families in need

Beloved children’s television host Fred Rogers once said that we live in a world in which we need to share responsibility.

“It’s easy to say it’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem, then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes,” Rogers said.

For many homeless veterans here in Maine, their heroes are a mother and daughter team, Journey and Becky, who founded the nonprofit organization It Takes a Village 207 in 2020. Joining forces with the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, It Takes a Village 207 continues to be a beacon of light for local families in need and a resource for those who put their lives on the line for all of us while wearing the uniform of the United States military but have since fallen on hard times back home.

As a member of the board of directors for the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, Journey saw first-hand the difficulties that homelessness, poverty, food insecurity and domestic violence can cause and how isolated it left those who suffered as a result of these difficult and trying situations in Maine. She thought joining forces with the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance could address those in desperate need of help and for those who felt isolated and alone with nowhere to turn to for assistance.

It Takes a Village 207 strives to make a difference by helping one struggling Mainer at a time. They provide resources for families struggling with financial hardship, work to reduce homelessness, food insecurity, substance abuse, domestic violence and the day-to-day challenges life throws at those in need.

They offer clothing, warm winter jackets and a range of other essentials for those who are struggling to survive and help raise money for local families in Maine who need home appliances, heating assistance, home repairs or school supplies.

The actual goal of It Takes a Village 207 is to be the village that helps struggling families get on their feet, while making them feel loved, respected, and understood.

The It Takes a Village organization is manned strictly by volunteers and is funded entirely by donations. All contributions are 100 percent tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

Volunteer opportunities are available and plentiful. Duries include a variety of tasks such as event staffing, home drop-offs of items, donation pick-ups, receiving, organizing, and stocking items, contacting businesses in person, on the phone or by email to secure various sponsorships and donations. The volunteers are the backbone of everything that It Takes a Village and the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance does.

Fundraisers are conducted throughout the year with the next one to be held being a Veterans Day Spaghetti Dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Standish Municipal Hall. The cost is $14 for adults, and $8 for children over age 3. At that same event, It Takes a Village organizers are hoping to receive donations which can be used by homeless veterans including backpacks; men’s and women’s socks; sleeping bags; bug spray; tarps; hand warmers; and new shoes or boots for both men and women.

Cash donations can be mailed throughout the year to It Takes a Village, 907 Ossipee Trail West, Steep Falls, Maine 04085 or to the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance at P.O. Box 1895, Portland, Maine 04101. The public can also assist It Takes a Village 207 in helping make Christmas merry this year by participating in raffles and silent auctions at events. Please message them on Facebook to learn what toys and donation items are being requested for the program’s annual gift giving for the holidays for families in need or see the lists on their website. You will also find an Amazon wish list if you would like to purchase gifts to be sent directly to the organizations.

Thanks to the generosity of participating business advertisers in this week’s The Windham Eagle, a total of $1,000 was raised for the It Takes a Village 207 Christmas Fund. Please see Pages 14 to 22 to see the close to 100 businesses that supported this cause. As always, we encourage you to support these businesses as a way of saying thank you for their contributions to the community.

The It Takes a Village program is currently collecting names of families that will need help this holiday season. Organizers say identifying these families sooner this year will make it easier to obtain help and assistance for them.

To recommend assistance for a homeless veteran or family in need, call It Takes a Village 207 at 207-322-7065 or email

For more information or to make a donation about It Takes a Village 207, go to For more information about the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, visit They accept cash or check donations via mail or you can contribute through PayPal and Venmo.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Raymond ground observers kept town safe during World War II

By Ernest H. Knight

After the entry of the United States into World War II following Pearl Harbor, both civilian and military believed that any part of our country was subject to attack by our enemies to the east and west even though airborne carrier of destruction were of relatively limited range and capability.

Local civilian Ground Observers kept
a watchful eye on the Raymond skies 
looking for enemy aircraft during
Very early in 1942, the Ground Observer Corps was organized as a branch of the United States Army Air Corps. An observation post on Raymond Hill was one of 800 similar sites in New England with 50,000 participating volunteers nationwide whose purpose was to watch and report any aircraft coming within their sight and hearing.

The Raymond Observation Post was located on the property of Roy Raynor near the junction of Raymond Hill Road and Valley Road, in an open field where there was good visibility in all directions and accessible to the observers, helpful characteristics which were not available at higher elevations such as Tenney Hill or Pismire Mountain.

This post was code named 86B, a classified designation, with Roy Raynor as Chief Observer and the other observers mostly from nearby East Raymond to North Raymond, although there were some from Raymond Village or other sections of town.

The site of operations of 86B were no plush country club. Yet it was much superior to the first tiny shack that was the Ground Observers first post provided by Willard Libby as a donation to the effort.

All time and materials involved in the program were volunteer and free, except for the telephone for reporting and the paper forms provided by the government. As the post was manned 24 hours a day throughout the year, there was a stove for winter heat, and it was lighted at night by kerosene lamp. It had a large window set into the roof for use when the weather was bad outside.

Equipment used by Ground Observers consisted of pencils for detailing activity and the telephone with which to make collect calls to the next higher Ground Observer headquarters in Portland, from which decisions were made and action taken. The function of Post 86B was to watch, listen, and report.

The observation post schedule was every hour of the day and every day of the year which was continued throughout the wartime years with few occasions when there was no observer on duty due to weather or other reasons.

The observers took their responsibilities seriously, doing their part in the war effort to which the whole country was dedicated. This meant considerable sacrifices and strength of will by these volunteers who served their scheduled time periods along with their regular occupations and home activities.

From higher headquarters it was stressed that an observer’s first priority was to this duty above all other civilian activities and to a greater extent they abided by this maxim. Weekly rosters were made up with duty periods usually of two to four hours, sometimes longer if a relief observer was late or complications interfered, with night shift workers and women taking daytime hours and day workers putting in the dreary hours at night.

There was little time to relax, read or otherwise make it more pleasant as there was considerable air activity to report with all the training flights from military bases, commercial flights and special purpose flying nearby, not to overlook frequent snooper flights initiated by Ground Observer Corps headquarters itself to check on the efficiency and dedication of posts.

There was paperwork to keep up with, memos and bulletins to read and absorb, letters to answer questions and inquiries, visitations by inspectors, and supervisors and sightseers out on outings. Then to fill in off-duty times there were local and regional training sessions intended to maintain efficiency and bolster morale.

But there were some perks for Ground Observers other than the feeling of being of some help to the country and their community. There were increases in gasoline rations for travel to duty and meetings and eligibility for recapped tires when many vehicles were of little use to their owners for lack of these vital items.

Though the ground observers were out of the public eye when functioning in isolated country areas such as Raymond Hill and they did not have uniforms as Air Raid Wardens in cities or Red Cross personnel engaged in service work with military members, they were entitled to wear armbands when qualified by meeting standards of hours per month or total hours since Dec. 7, 1941. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Homemade jewelry a labor of love for Windham resident

By Masha Yurkevich

From food to gifts, some things just don’t get any better than homemade. Knowing that something was made with love, care, and passion is exactly what Maire Trombley of Catmint Crafts values when she makes her homemade jewelry by hand.

Maire Trombley of Windham makes polymer
clay and embroidered jewelry, primarily
3D hand-sculpted miniature foods and
floral embroidered earrings.
Maire Trombley, crafter/owner/artisan behind Catmint Crafts, is originally from New Hampshire. She came to Maine to study at Saint Joseph’s College in 2004. She and her husband, Michael, got married in college and stayed in southern Maine, moving back to the Windham area in 2018.

Trombley formerly was a classroom teacher in Scarborough for 14 years while the couple raised their three kids, but in 2022, she switched to working as an educational technician in special education at Windham High School for more of a work/life balance.

“Last summer, at the encouragement of my husband, I decided to get a table at the Windham Farmer’s Market,” says Trombley. “I had always been a crafter and enjoyed making things with and for my children, students, and friends. I dabbled in lots of different art but that was my first time selling my work. From going to markets and starting to sell my work at some local stores, Catmint Crafts took off.”

Trombley makes her own polymer clay and embroidered jewelry, primarily 3D hand-sculpted miniature foods and floral embroidered earrings. She has also done some wheel-thrown pottery, growing, drying, and arranging flowers and hand-sewn home decor.

“I have always loved making things since I was a child,” she says. “I’ve been embroidering since about age of 10, played around with jewelry making among other hobbies and collected craft supplies and vintage fabrics or piece work once I knew what went into them. I started specifically making food jewelry just for fun after seeing some French fry earrings but not buying them,” she said. “I seriously regretted that for months and then got clay the next Christmas and immediately made a burger and fries. As a teacher, it was a fun way to surprise and connect with the kids and there was a definite Mrs. Frizzle vibe to my earrings, so I loved wearing and sharing them, and people started noticing.”

Her colleagues, family and friends have encouraged Trombley to keep going in her work of jewelry. Her inspirations are food, holidays or seasons, doll house miniatures and beautiful old fabrics and fiber arts, as well as seeing what other people can create.
“Honestly, I just have always loved giving and receiving homemade gifts and have always appreciated women’s handiwork, so much was made by hand out of necessity but there is an art to it as well,” she says. “I love putting my own spin on this tradition and making my own pieces one at a time by hand.”

During the summer, Trombley often sells her work at the Portland Farmer’s Market or First Friday Art Walk in person along with seasonal craft fairs in the area.

If people want to try their hand at miniature clay pieces, Trombley teaches polymer clay classes, and she has one coming up at the MEow Lounge in Westbrook in September.

She says that she absolutely loves what she does and encourages everyone to have fun at making whatever they choose, even if clay isn’t your thing.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect or even purposeful. There is value in creating just because and so much joy to be had in knowing it’s been handmade,” she says. “And if you aren’t feeling like a maker, you should always go and support local artists and value that time they put in to make beautiful work.” <

Friday, August 18, 2023

Traveling preachers sustain faith of early Raymond pioneers

By Ernest H. Knight

Raymondtown, before separation into the sister towns of Raymond and Casco, had religious leaders at times such as Elder Joseph Hutchinson, a Free Will Baptist who instructed and baptized throughout the town and Obadiah Gould who brought his flock of Friends from Windham to settle on Quaker Ridge.

The grave of 18th century
itinerant preacher Jeremiah
Hayden can be found in
the Raymond Village
Cemetery. He was born in
Massachusetts and died in
Raymond in 1847.
A protégé of Hutchinson, Zachariah Leach, functioned as clerk of the group until called upon by them to be ordained as their minister and thereby entitled to the 1/64th of the proprietary lands as the first settled minister in accordance with the 1765 Act of the General Court of Massachusetts which established the township, though he never exercised that right.

Another local product, Jeremiah Hayden, became a preacher but mainly served congregations outside Raymond thereby helping to provide the interchange of ideas and leadership.

While these local divines served the people well, their periods of activity did not provide continuity so that there were times when there was no pastor in residence. Also, with the areas to be covered, the clergy was separated in time as well as distance from those that needed help. Therefore, supplementary religious services were welcomed and the traveling preacher had a ready and waiting circuit of families and communities as long as he had the fortitude to take to the trail in spite of the atrocious traveling conditions and put up with whatever primitive accommodations might be available.

One who made many annual missions through Raymondtown on his all-summer travels was the Rev. Paul Coffin of Buxton in the late 1700s. His journals provide interesting insights into the nature of his listeners such as in Raymondtown on Aug. 20, 1800, on his last mission.

“Most of them prayed as if in the greatest distress and the body of them groaned in time of prayer, and, at its end, at once ceased. Very little knowledge of the word of God and duty appeared,” Coffin wrote.

But he also accepted their criticism, as he noted in his journal on June 16, 1796, in Raymondtown.

“They allowed my doctrine to be good, and me a good man, but not a preacher as I read my sermon,” Coffin wrote.

Rev. Coffin was also an observer of the commercial labors of the people, as he wrote in his journal on Aug. 24, 1799. “Sabbath. Preached at Capt. Dingley’s from Luke 16: 29-31 to an attentive and good number. Shelburne, Bethel, Oxford, Waterford, Bridgton, and Andover carry their produce through Raymondtown to Portland, it being a thoroughfare, especially in winter and sleighing time.”

And on the next Monday, “Rode to Otisfield and put up with brother Robie. By the way called at Hezekiah Cooks and had a horse shoe set. Visited the families of Gray, Mitchel, Mann and the aged Mr. Spur.”

As early as 1791, Elder Nathan Morrill of Gray or New Gloucester was baptizing residents in Raymondtown, but added his converts to his own church membership. Later an elder Randall from Gorham brought with him a covenant when preaching and baptizing, which all signed, and was therefore perhaps the first established church in town.

In the early 1800s the area was covered by a Rev. Thomas Strout from Windham. En route to the Raymond Hill Baptist Church, he once gave a ride to a small girl also proceeding there. As was common habit, he was chewing tobacco with resulting frequent spitting, which prompted the girl to say, “Do the angels up in heaven chew tobacco?”

After giving thought to the question, Strout got off his wagon and not only threw his tobacco cud into the bushes, but removed a plug from his pocket and likewise discarded it. To her he replied, “No little girl, the angels in heaven do not chew tobacco and never again will I.”

The decision to reform must have served him well as with later successes in his ministry, and while baptizing in the River Jordan (an aptly named river for such a ceremony), it is claimed that a white dove alighted and rested on his shoulder.

Through the years many leaders of various local groups expanded their spheres of influence. Rev. Jeremiah Bullock of Limington started preaching locally in the 1810s which developed into a movement called the “Bullockites” which lasted into the 20th century throughout Southern Maine based on informality and temperance.

In one form or another, religion was available to the pioneers through these dedicated purveyors of enlightenment. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.

Cub Scouts schedule registration night at Windham Middle School

By Ed Pierce

Here in Windham, the Cub Scout experience is all about children and families having fun times together and helping boys in kindergarten to Grade 5 to become productive leaders of tomorrow.

Windham's Cub Scout Pack 805 is welcoming new scouts
and new parents looking to become pack volunteers to
Cub Scout Registration and Q&A Night at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 11 in the Windham Middle School cafeteria. 
With school about to resume following a break for summer, Windham’s Cub Scout Pack 805 is welcoming new scouts and new parents looking to become pack volunteers. On Monday, Sept. 11, Pack 805 will conduct Cub Scout Registration and Q&A Night at 6:30 p.m. in the Windham Middle School cafeteria. At the gathering, older scouts will be presenting fun activities to keep the scouts entertained while the pack leaders talk with parents of both returning and interested scouts.

“Scouting teaches kids positive character traits, helps foster relationships, and to be part of the community,” said Windham Pack 805 Leader Casey Melanson.

According to Melanson, the Pack 805 dens meet once a week and then the entire Pack 805 meets once a month for a special meeting, like a Halloween party, a Christmas holiday dinner, Pinewood Derby model car racing, and a range of other events.

Pack 805’s dues are affordable and goes toward national registrations, insurance, and other expenses, Melanson said. The pack also conducts fundraising activities throughout the year to offset the costs of awards and activities throughout the year.

She said Windham parents should consider having their sons join Cub Scouts because it helps them to work on self-growth, and to try new things.

“The scout motto is ‘Do Your Best’ and that’s what the kids learn.” Melanson said.

Joining the Cub Scouts is the first step in a young man’s journey to become a responsible citizen who cares about his neighbors and the community.

“We want our scouts to learn what it means to be part of something important, what it means to help their community, make new friends, build relationships, and to have fun,” Melanson said.

Melanson said that Pack 805 currently has more than three dozen scouts who volunteer to work on several community projects every year.

You’ll find Cub Scouts picking up trash after Windham Summerfest or hosting a toy collection drive for a family for Christmas,” Melanson said. “We also participate in Scouting for Food each November to collect needed goods for the Windham Food Pantry.”

Melanson said that Cub Scout uniforms consist of a shirt, a rank neckerchief, and a rank slide. Pants and rank hats are optional. Scouts are encouraged to have a belt (not necessarily a scout belt) to be able to display their beltloop achievements.

Each Cub Scout is issued a handbook for each rank so that the scout will need to be able to learn, perform, and complete each achievement and scout activities emphasize having fun and learning useful life skills.

“Cub Scouts can do anything they put their minds to. We have gone winter camping, hiking, ice fishing, and built lean-tos in the winter woods,” Melanson said. “We also have our annual Pinewood Derby where the boys design and build their own cars and then compete against one another. As a pack we have had beach outings, cookouts, movie nights, and EVO Rock Gym overnights.”

Cub Scout activities and adventures are centered around earning merit badges that are specific to each school grade level. Each badge represents a rank and advancement refers to the progress a Cub Scout makes toward their badge of rank.

For Pack 805’s registration night on Sept. 11, the registration effort will be staffed by Pack 805 leaders who can answer any specific questions that parents of children interested in participating in scouting may have.

“If someone has a new potential scout who is interested, they may come with the parent,” Melanson said. “If someone is interested in joining but is unable to make the registration event, they can reach out to us through Facebook or email.”

For more information about Cub Scout Pack 805, visit their Pack 805 Windham Maine Facebook page or send an email to <

Friday, July 21, 2023

Early Raymond settler leaves lasting impression upon community

By Ernest H. Knight

One of Raymond’s most prominent early citizens was Joseph Dingley, who was born in Duxbury, Massachusetts about 100 years after the landing of the Pilgrims at nearby Plymouth.

Joseph Dingley was one of the pioneers
and early settlers of Raymond in the 18th
century and is buried in the cemetery on
Raymond Cape Road across from his
homestead where he operated a grist
mill for many years.
As to how he came into contact with the Beverly Proprietors of Raymondtown to acquire right to land in their township is not known, but he arrived here in 1770, and having won a race against Dominicus Jordan to be the first settler, received an additional 100 acres for his victory.

As he came by water there is not an agreement as to whether his first landfall was at the head of Kettle Cove near where he had Lot 15 in Range Two or by Dingley Brook to Lot 9 in the same range where he developed his sawmill.

When the proprietors in 1771 realized the great need for a mill for the settlers they sought someone to erect one on the lot reserved for that purpose on the outlet from Panther Pond, then named Painter Pond. Dingley countered with one of his own to build a mill on his lot on the outlet from Thomas Pond, which was accepted by the proprietors.

Both proposals included a provision that the proprietors find millstones and deliver them to Falmouth (Portland) and Dingley was committed to have a “sawmill fit for sawing boards by the next June and a corn mill fit to grind corn by next fall.” This provided Raymondtown with the minimum commercial requirements for survival, a sawmill, and a grist mill.

Settler Dominicus Jordan also had a mill site above the present Route 302 bridge over the Jordan River, but once again, Dingley got ahead of him. It was to the Dingley mill that resident Jeremiah Tarbox was carrying a sack of corn on his back to provide corn meal for his family when he fell exhausted into the snow, and froze to death, together with his wife who tried to help him back to their cabin.

Joseph Dingley’s progeny were plentiful and active in the life of their community, as were those of Dominicus Jordan, both before and after division of the town into Raymond and Casco. Dingley’s daughter Susan married Richard Manning, a blacksmith from Salem who was agent for the Beverly Proprietors in Raymondtown, who after Manning’s death married Francis Radoux. Joseph’s son Samuel settled on the other Dingley lot near Kettle Cove, building a house that still stands just beyond the Bridgton Road Church on Route 302. Samuel later moved to Joseph’s homestead and helped run the mill in Joseph’s advanced years. Joseph is recorded as having an odd habit of mouth distortions, shaking hands and an unsteadiness that would today probably be called Parkinson’s or some other affliction.

Both Dingleys, father and son, volunteered for military service at the start of the Revolutionary War in the company of men from Raymond and Windham and returned to the fast-growing Raymondtown as Captains, a title that Jospeh retained for the rest of his life, even though he later held the rank of Colonel in the militia. Joseph is buried in the cemetery behind the Manning House across the road from his homestead and across the brook from his mill.

Off the mouth of Dingley Brook in Sebago Lake are a dozen Dingley Islands, one or more of which were used by Joseph. There he cleared pasture for his sheep, a wise procedure as an island has a ready-made fence of water to keep livestock in as well as an equally ready-made barrier to marauding bears and wolves. In those days of wilderness living there were many predatory animals from which domestic stock needed protection as well as did people for which fences offered little security.

Dogs were also employed as an aid to security and in the collection of artifacts from the era at the Friends Schoolhouse at the Raymond-Casco Historical Museum, there is a homemade iron dog collar on which is soldered a copper plate engraved “Joe Dingley, Casco, Me No. 15.” Whether the “Joe Dingley” was our Joseph Dingley, or the name of the dog is not known. But it is an interesting and rugged collar, suitable for rugged times. There is legend that in the Dingley household there was at one time a pet bear that had the run of the house in the summer and hibernated under the mill in the winter, so all wild animals were not their enemy.

Jospeh Dingley was a farmer as well as a mill man (as applied to those working with lumber) and a miller (as applied to those working with grains). An authentic relic of his farming activity in our schoolhouse collections is his two-tined pitchfork which hangs on a wall. < 

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Grant helps Windham create new picnic area

By Nicole Levine

A picnic may very well be a metaphor for life, and if that’s true, Windham residents are about to enjoy a new favorite picnic spot close to home.

A Community Challenge Grant from AARP has helped
the Town of Windham create a new picnic table area at 
Community Park on Gray Road. Once finished, the site
will have a stone dust foundation and path from the 
parking lot to the park pavilion and picnic area.
Thanks to a Community Challenge Grant from AARP, the Town of Windham is creating a new picnic area which will be available starting this fall. AARP’s Community Challenge Program was launched a decade ago to provide small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages and create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks, and access to other amenities.

Windham is one of 14 recipients of the Community Challenge Grant for 2023 and funding will be administered through the Windham Parks and Recreation Department. A new shaded picnic addition will be added to the existing Windham Community Park, adjacent to the Windham Public Safety Building on Route 202.

The new picnic table area will be located under the Community Park’s pavilion between the basketball and volleyball courts. The picnic pavilion was built last year by a group of volunteers who are associated with the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing and PowerServe.

According to Windham Parks and Recreation Department Director Linda Brooks, the town is also hoping to include a self-guided walking trail at the park, which will be specifically designed to be accessible for older adults.

Brooks said that the town’s Parks Maintenance Foreman will be collaborating with Windham Public Works to prepare a stone dust surface to go under the pavilion, and a stone dust path which leads from the parking lot toward the picnic area. There will also be three ADA compliant picnic tables installed under the pavilion at the park later in the summer.

Construction for this project will take place throughout the summer, and there will be a grand opening barbecue held at the park in the early fall.

The Windham Parks and Recreation Director, Linda Brooks, originally applied for this grant as a way to act upon recommendations that were raised in the Age Friendly Windham Action Plan. The AARP Community Challenge Grant will provide residents of the Town of Windham with the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, in a community driven environment.

“We were quite pleased that our project stood out among the 3,600-plus applications nationwide, and we were among 310 projects that received funding,” Brooks said. “This project is intended to increase social connections between older adults and all residents of the community and provide permanent physical improvements and amenities in our outdoor public spaces, encouraging increased visits to these locations.”

“Once the project is completed, members of the public will also be able to rent out the pavilion for birthday parties and other events, much like the Windham Parks and Recreation Department currently offers at both Dundee Park and Donnabeth Lippman Park, Brooks said.

The AARP Community Challenge Grant program is part of the nationwide AARP Livable Communities initiative, which helps cities, towns, villages, and rural areas in all 50 states become great places to live for residents of all ages. The overall goal of the program focuses on providing adults over the age of 50 with accessible ways to spend time outdoors and is intended to help communities make immediate improvements and jump-start long-term progress in support of residents of all ages.

Since the program's debut in 2017, AARP has awarded $12.7 million through more than 1,060 grants in nearly 700 communities reaching 100 million people. The projects have been completed across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“AARP Maine is committed to working with local communities and their leaders to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” says Noël Bonam, the AARP Maine State Director. <

Friday, July 7, 2023

Family event ‘Touch A Truck’ rolls into Windham on Saturday

 By Ed Pierce

Those big rigs have fascinated kids of all ages for some time and now they’ll be able to check them out up close and personal when a free ‘Touch A Truck’ for children and families will held in North Windham.

A free 'Tuch A Truck' event sponsored by the Windham Lions
Club runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 8 in the parking
lot behind Hannaford's Supermarket in North Windham.
Kids and families will be able to explore trucks of all sizes
at the event, which includes food vendors and ice cream with
proceeds to benefit the Windham community. 
Sponsored by the Windham Lions Club, the ‘Touch A Truck” event runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 8 in the parking lot behind Hannaford’s Supermarket on Route 302 in North Windham.

At this year’s ‘Touch A Truck,’ participants will be able to climb into the cab of a fire truck, see the inside of a police car, explore land excavators, dump trucks and much more. There will be many large vehicles on hand from throughout the community for kids to inspect and honk the horn.

The event has been in the planning stages for months by Windham Lions Club members and admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. All contributions are used to benefit our Windham Community.

Water and snacks will be available and there will be an ice cream truck at the site so participants can purchase their favorite treats. Entertainment at this year’s ‘Touch A Truck’ will be provided by Party Palooga.

“We appreciate the participation of Windham agencies and local businesses that are making this possible,” said Evelyn Brissette, president of the Windham Lions Club.

“The ‘Touch A Truck’ event provides a hands-on educational community event to see and touch the trucks and machinery used in the community and to meet the men and women who operate these machines,” Brissette said. “Participating vehicles will be displayed in a safe, supervised environment and it’s the perfect venue for exploring the machinery while learning about the people who build, protect and serve Windham.”

The idea for hosting ‘Touch A Truck’ staged by the Windham Lions Club came from an idea Brissette had a few years ago.

“I had done some research online and it seemed like ‘Touch A Truck’ would be a fun way to interact with kids and people in our community,” she said. “We also want our community to be aware that the Windham Lions Club does exist and with everyone’s help we can make life a lot brighter for those less fortunate.”

Brissette said that the Windham Lions Club staged its first ‘Touch A Truck’ last summer and it exceeded expectations in terms of participation and people’s willingness to help others.

“Because of the generosity of our Windham community, in 2022 we were able to adopt seven families at Christmas, provided Windham Middle School with a very generous $1,000 check to provide Christmas gifts for their students and their families and were able to provide a generous gift to the students that participated in the Odyssey of the Mind program and were asking for donations to fund their trip. We are looking forward to continuing our programs to support our community in 2023.”

Brissette said that she believes when Windham residents take an interest in their own community, and work together for a cause, they can make a difference.

All proceeds from this year’s ‘Touch A Truck’ event, coupled with the Windham Lions Club’s Craft Fair in October, and cash donated at the club’s annual “Stuff-the-Bus” event in November will go to helping those in need in Windham, Brissette said.

Since its inception, the Windham Lions Club has played a significant charitable role in the community, supporting a variety of causes and issues affecting the lives of residents.

Some of those include purchasing and manning Windham’s first rescue van in 1968; donations to the Windham Public Library; helping with expenses related to eye exams and eyeglass when they meet the Lions Club criteria; assisting with expenses related to hearing tests and hearing aids when they meet the Lions Club criteria; conducting RSU 14 eye screening with more than 5,000 students screened so far; sponsoring the “Student of the Month” program; Speakout competitions; Breakfast with Santa; Stuff-the-Bus with more than 10,000 pounds of food collected for those in need; supporting the Windham Veteran’s Center; and collecting used eye glasses and hearing aids.

Brissette said the Lions Club is grateful to Windham Mall owner Jay Wise, truck company and business participants, and Windham Public agencies for their help with the ‘Touch-A-Truck’ event. “We want our neighbors to know that through their generosity, we can help to make a nicer Christmas possible for the families we are able to adopt this year,” she said. “We will do everything we can with our community’s support.” <

Friday, June 30, 2023

Pismire Bluff Trail in Raymond Community Forest a must for hikers

By Abby Wilson

We all have a favorite spot for recreation during Maine’s summer and for many people hiking Pismire Bluff Trail in the Raymond Community Forest is a must.

Hiking the Pismire Bluff Trail in the Raymond Community
Forest is a year-round scenic experience that many continue
to enjoy year after year. PHOTO BY JON EVANS
This unique trail system is located off Conesca Road in Raymond and is managed by the Loon Echo Land Trust.

Prior to 2016, these 360 acres belonged to the Hancock Land Company which harvested timber for Hancock Lumber. Today, the Raymond Community Forest boasts several miles of multi-purpose trails and beautiful views.

This project had “a lot of different partners... with a lot of community support” says Jon Evans, Stewardship Manager for the Loon Echo Land Trust.

Evans said that funding for the purchase was fueled by a state program called Land for Maine’s Future (LMF), individual donors, and local foundations.

The land trust immediately began planning for trails since the property was already being accessed by people viewing the mountain vistas from the bluff.

“People have been scrambling up there for 100 years,” Evans said.

Loon Echo Land Trust hired the Appalachian Mountain Club to build a trail that had a goal of getting people to that bluff. The idea was the overall area impacted on the mountain would decrease if there was one route. A safe trail would also reduce erosion and safeguard impact to rare grasses and flowers.

According to Evans, the land trust is aware of several sensitive plant communities on the bluff, including the rare Fern-leaved False Foxglove, a late-summer flower that grows along the trails.

There is also a Maple Ash Basswood natural community and woodland. Summer Grapes are unique to the area and grow along the Grape Expectations Trail.

Another preliminary project for the Pismire Bluff Trail was the multiuse trail system by the parking area.

A local bike enthusiast and now a “super volunteer,” Dave Dowler, approached the Loon Echo Land Trust with an idea to create paths for bikes.

Today’s Spiller Homestead Loop is the result of years of hard work and about 400 volunteer hours coordinated by Dowler and while this particular type of trail was not an original Loon Echo Land Trust idea, it soon became an exciting project.

“You want to harness that volunteer spirit,” Evans said. "On this trail, there’s no roots or thresholds because bikers have higher standards, but pedestrians also benefit. To build a trail of that standards with volunteers is really incredible.”

In its first year, the infrared trail counters tracked 5,000 visitors at Raymond Community Forest.

That’s no surprise to Evans, who says ““It is one of my very favorite places… We are incredibly proud of how it turned out.”

At the Raymond Community Forest, there is a balance between ecological integrity and recreational use. The property is great for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Pismire Bluff is similar to Bald Mountain with no large investment in time.

Evans says it’s also a “great and satisfying hike for folks that are older or have mobility limitations”.

The Maple Ash community is particularly beautiful in the fall. Grasses grow in the understory and in September, when the canopy is turning yellow above, it creates a very unique and picturesque forest scene for hikers to enjoy.

The trails counter is still tracking about the same number of visitors but there was a radical increase during COVID. The rate at which people were visiting far exceeded the land trust’s ability to maintain the trails.

With 40 miles of trails across the land trust’s several properties, volunteers have played a critical role in trail management. Loon Echo Land Trust has a trail adoption program where people sign up to take responsibility of trails by cutting brush, reporting tree falls, and overall looking after the trails.

The major goal is to keep trails passable and have “eyes, ears, and boots on the ground,” says Evans.

Interested volunteers can also participate in trail workdays which are scheduled frequently throughout the summer and occur at different properties. Loon Echo Land Trust provides necessary training and tools.

Another benefit to volunteering is that it allows people to get out on the land a better understand conservation.

“There’s a large portion of people that use conserved land but don’t know what it means,” Evans said.

Maine is predominantly privately owned, so land trusts are critical in providing access for recreation. It’s good to get people out there so they can learn about what a land trust does.

“We want folks to be satisfied with their experiences and understand why it matters,” says Evans. “They are not making new land.”

This community forest will be extremely unique in the future because properties are constantly being developed in the lakes area. The property acts as a buffer between natural communities and development, making it ecologically valuable as well.

“We do this for the future and future generations, and all walks of life,” Evans said.

Learn more about Loon Echo Land Trust at <

Friday, June 23, 2023

Castleton Lodge was once hub of summer life in Raymond

By Ernest H. Knight

Places that came into being far into the past, whether they are historic landmarks or simply things that we have been used to seeing in their once natural settings, have a way of suddenly disappearing. And once gone, they assume greater importance than once accorded them, even to outraged protests that something should have been done to save them.

Schooner Cove in Raymond was the resting place of a derelict
canal boat hull and the site of the old Castleton Lodge, an
estate that once was a beehive of summer life for tourists
and locals in the 19th century. COURTESY PHOTO 
One of those disappearances in Raymond has been Castleton Lodge, as once identified on its entrance sign board on Raymond Cape Road, or as the J.J. Bond Estate by many who preferred a family appellation. Located on the northern end of Raymond Cape not far from South Casco, encompassing a block of land extending from Sebago Lake to the Cape Road of about 100 acres which included areas of majestic pines, swamp land, a beautiful sand beach and boulders with its center piece a three-story log house, progress and the future converged on Castleton Lodge in the form of the destruction of the log house and outbuildings, clearing of woods for parkway style roads and preparation of land for the building of expensive development houses.

About 100 years ago Joseph J. Bond of Reading, Massachusetts purchased the land, and from trees cut on his property, built a masterpiece of wood and stone for gracious summer “rustication.” Mr. and Mrs. Bond, native New Englanders, had migrated in the 1880s to Castleton, South Dakota, to manage an extensive wheat ranch owned by a Boston syndicate, a venture which was not a success and sold to Mr. Bond. After three bumper crops in a period of high market prices, he sold out and with his fortune returned to New England to devote the rest of his life to the acquisition and development of his estate in Raymond in the grand style of the day.

The big house was made of round logs, presumably of the same vintage as the remaining huge pines throughout the land. Faced toward the lake and on the east side by a massive stone porch and steps with second-story rooms projecting above, the main room was open upward through the first and second floors, the interior walls of the same round logs as outside, an imposing stone fireplace in one corner and the kitchen and service rooms in the rear. An open pine log stairway went up from another corner to a second-floor balcony surrounding the main room with doors on three sides to guest rooms while on the third floor were rooms probably for servants as there were few windows or comforts there.

Behind the house, in the woods, were garages, recreation and service buildings. On a scenic rocky point extending into Sebago was a small beach house with a sandy beach to either side, one of them in a cove that sheltered a boat wharf on which undoubtedly guests and supplies arrived from many of the steamboats meeting trains at Sebago Lake Station.

Offshore the view is spectacular with a background of distant mountains and in the foreground some of the Dingley Islands centered on Millstone Island. Truly a setting and substance that can be visualized as once a beehive of summer life.

The name given to this development is, appropriately enough, Cathedral Pines, the entrance from Raymond Cape being through what has been heavy growth of the 2-foot pine trees. Beside this entrance, hidden in brush, is the cellar hole of the house of Alfred Mains, who farmed the land more than a century ago. This divided road for two-way traffic for 1,000 feet or so is centered by a line of these big trees as straight as though they had been planted, as well they might have been by Mr. Bond’s plan.

But now all resembles Yellowstone Park or Mount St. Helens as bulldozers, chain saws and fiery piles of brush prepared the land for the coming buildings. The better of the two beaches was reserved as common land along with the scenic point. Another property transformed overnight from a hidden private reserve into a complex of residential glamour.

Of interest to those in the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and others attracted to the history of the Cumberland & Oxford Canal, 1830-1870, is that the canal boats traversed this part of Sebago on their way to and from the Songo River and lakeshore landings. The first cove is the resting place of a derelict canal boat hull, logically giving it the name “Schooner Cove.”

As the lake below the high-water mark is state/public property, it will not be subject to development jurisdiction and members of the canal society are engaged in underwater measurement and photography to gain knowledge from one of the very last known canal boats in physical shape for study. Furthermore, it appears to be of a type other than the conventional C & O design that may have had its idea or origin on salt water before finding its way from there to the lake through the canal, a novel consideration. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Early telephone service dazzles Raymond residents

By Ernest H. Knight

Communication by wire has come a long way since the invention of the telegraph by Samuel F.B. Morse and the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell, even though some time after those and other inventions had changed society the then-head of the Bureau of Patents in Washington recommended that the agency be abolished as everything that could be invented had already been accomplished. But even now more than a century and a half later, our telephone system is still offering new gimmicks of expanded equipment and wireless service.

The Raymond & Webb's Mills Telephone Company
was created in the late 19th century and each customer
was issued a wall phone like this one with their
own number, usually a combination of one number
for the line they were on. COURTESY PHOTO
More than a century ago in the late 19th century, the telephone came to Raymond and Casco even though there was no electricity for lights and motors for another decade or more.

The Raymond & Webb’s Mills Telephone Company, soon to become the Webb’s Mills Exchange of the Poland Telephone Company, improved somewhat on the communications at Squawk Hill, a suburb of Webb’s Mills, where a few residents started the day with a shouted message which resounded in the hills and valleys to be answered in kind by neighbors.

But the reassuring sound of another voice in the clear morning air was superior to the scratchy sound coming from a receiver clapped against the ear, mingled with the sounds of babies crying and doors slamming.

The first telephone lines were run along roads and across fields by those who wanted the newfangled gadget to connect into the exchange at Webb’s Mills where they could be connected to whomever they desired.

Every customer had their own number, a combination of one number for the line they were on, followed by a dash if written or a pause of being rung and then the particular number on that line for the individual. A single long ring would get the exchange.

As each ring was by a crank that turned a magneto to send the signal over the wire to all receivers on the line, the lower digits were used first up to five or six at the most to minimize the ringing, and then double digits using the 1s, 2s and 3s.

This meant a lot of jangling of bells along the line which only the number was supposed to answer. In practice almost every receiver was lifted to listen anyway but a hand, held discreetly over the mouthpiece, might fool the talkers into thinking they had secrecy.

But when waiting for the recipient to answer, a series of random clicks indicated others were preparing to listen. Too many open receivers diminished the loudness, but an angry complaint could persuade some to hang up.

To call someone on another line the extension was relayed at the exchange.

Every line had its own pair of wires, strung on insulators attached to poles or trees. As customers increased and the lines were taken over by companies seeing business opportunities, wires were combined on company poles resulting in eventually seeing some roads being festooned with wires, each pole having multiple cross arms, each arm with multiple pairs of wires attached to glass insulators.

Eventually for the Patent Office, not having gone out of business for lack of work, developments permitted single wires to carry multiple conversations, wires were combined into cables and on and on through the amazing services we enjoy today.

But there is one nostalgic thing from that era, along with a lot of useful improvements, that came to be known as the music from the singing wires.

A small or large number of telephone wires gave a steady humming sound, varying only in intensity, somewhat like that of a distant horde of locusts though of a higher pitch, most pronounced when heard close to the pole, which acted as a sounding board. As in a well-known painting of the Frederick Remington type showing a vast expanse of western prairie with a line of poles stretching off into infinity, a trio of blanketed Indians standing by the pole with their ears close to it, probably wondering at the significance of the “Singing Wires,” the title of the painting. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Before the memory fades: In honor of Windham’s hometown heroes during World War II

By Walter Lunt

The Windham High School Kiwanis Band, orchestra and glee clubs were halfway through a command performance that was being broadcast to a local radio audience on the Sunday afternoon of Dec. 7, 1941 when, suddenly, all activity came to a halt. The radio show, known as Maine Schools on the Air, was a live remote broadcast from the school’s auditorium (town hall gym today). The production was the culmination of weeks of preparation by the students and the music staff, consisting largely of Windham’s Class of 1942.

The Windham High School Kiwanis Band. Clinton Graham,
center, was director and played oboe for the Portland
Symphony Orchestra. The band was unable to complete
a remote radio broadcast from the high school when the
national network cut in to announce the attack on
WHS CLASS OF 1942    
“It was a special event – big doings,” said Carroll McDonald, a high school senior at the time, “…and it required a lot of preparation – lots of rehearsals. It had to be as professional as possible.” McDonald was waiting to present a solo on trumpet, “but I didn’t get to play it. At first, we didn’t know what was going on. We were off the air, but you could hear (an announcer) talking. Then everyone was quiet – people were floored, astounded.”

The on-air interruption was, of course, breaking news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. McDonald, 98, remembered, “This (event) changed the rest of our school year quite a bit.”

Writing in the 1942 Windham High School yearbook, Editor-in-Chief Louise Manchester wrote, “Our country is now involved in a second great World War…We, the youth of today, realize that it is our duty to share the responsibilities that accompany our fight for democracy…One of our most important projects has been the training of all high school boys and many girls in the study of First Aid. Many girls have completed courses in Home Nursing…”

McDonald remembers buying U.S. Defense Stamps, “for pennies.” Later, the stamps would be turned in for a $25 War Bond. By the spring of ’42, the students were calling for scrap metal to be dropped off at the school. “We had a huge pile of donations: old, unused farm equipment, tea kettles, plows, harrows…anything made of metal. It got melted down and made into something to fight the war with; the U.S. was ill-prepared.”

School buses could no longer transport students to after school activities, however those who had cars provided conveyance. The yearbook also reported, “This year, because of the demand for more food, the boys of the Future Farmers of America Club (a school sponsored group) are having more and larger projects. Members of the boy’s 4-H Club participated in a “Food for Victory” project while the girls Hi-Y Club made white shirts for the Red Cross.

As a young lad, barely 17, McDonald was called upon to help out with the war effort by manning an aircraft warning tower situated on a high point of land at the intersection of Chute and Webb Roads. His job: Keep eyes on the sky and listen. His tools: Binoculars and a phone. His shift: 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. one day a week. He cannot recall if he was ever late for his first period class at school.

Rationing of critical resources such as gasoline, rubber, sugar and even cigarettes soon followed. Folks who were “holding down the home front” learned to get along with less. McDonald recalls one of his neighbors, Arthur Cobb, who lived on the corner of Gray Road (Route 202) and Gambo Road. “His nickname was pipe because he was always smoking a crooked corn-cob pipe; he would always brag about saving gas by shifting his car into neutral when going downhill. He’d leave his house going toward South Windham; when he got to Grant’s Corner (Binga’s today) he’d coast until he crossed the railroad tracks. Another time, there was a crash at that corner and the car started leaking gas. The fellow who lived in the brick house ran across the road (to the disabled car) and put a milk pail under the wreck to catch the gas.”

Perhaps the most grievous and disheartening effect of the war was the impact on family roles. Husbands, dads and brothers went off to serve the country; grandparents, wives, moms, sisters and children willingly and diligently assumed new duties – in some cases on a learning curve.

Kenneth Griffin was 8 years old, living with his mom and dad, grandmother, two brothers and a little sister on the family farm on River Road, when the radio soap opera "One Man’s Family" he was listening to was suddenly interrupted with the disturbing news of Pearl Harbor. “I went from childhood to early adulthood that day in 1941,” recalled Griffin, “A few minutes later my father (a machinist’s mate in the U.S. Coast Guard) drives into the yard. He rushes into the house and runs upstairs. In no time he’s back in uniform kissing Mom goodbye and drives away. I couldn’t grasp what was going on, but life for the Griffin family changed that day.”

Griffin’s brothers soon left school to work in the “new” shipyard in South Portland; by 1943 they would leave home to serve in the military, but not before teaching young Kenneth how to run the farm. “I was almost 11 by then. We had two cows, 25 chickens, one pig and a John Deere tractor complete with tow bar, hay mower and plow.” He was now “man of the house.”

Now, age 91 and living in California, Griffin emailed a few memories of those war years. “The plow lever was so heavy that I had to stand up on the tractor and use both hands and legs to pull it down or lift it up. Fortunately, our (vegetable garden) rows were long so there was time between the exercise. (My brother) was a fine teacher and gave me good instructions before he left.”

The following year, Griffin’s dad would be missing in action, “…and the checks stopped coming!” Mom would find work in Portland where she found living accommodations and work at a five-and-dime store. Back on the farm, 12-year-old Griffin and his grandmother would keep the fires burning. Dad would eventually be located, recuperating in a Halifax hospital.

Lloyd “Buster” Gilman of Windham says he was about 10 years old and lived on Gambo Road when the war impacted his family. “We had a big garden: cukes, tomatoes and potatoes. There was a neighbor who used to sneak into our cellar and steal potatoes. We raised chickens and my mother would can them. They were good in those jars. I remember eating a lot of hot dogs, poor man’s food.” Gilman said the abandoned Gambo Gunpowder Mills, located near his home, had a canon that was once used to test the gunpowder. He said it disappeared – scrapped for the war effort. Gilman’s mother, Alice, kept a diary. Her entries are revealing regarding the burdens and concerns of the home front in Windham during World War II.

Feb. 23, 1942: Listened at 10 p.m. President Roosevelt talk.

May 5, 1942: Got our sugar rationing books, each (family) allowed ½ pound a week.

June 23, 1942: Took all our old rubber and tires to salvage. Got 1 cent a pound. We had 88 pounds.

March 29, 1943: Started rationing meat, butter, fats and canned fish.

July 13, 1944: Army bomber crashed over at South Portland into a lot of trailer camps, killing 16 – injuring several.

April 17, 1945: Put up clothes for the relief of war victims in Europe.

May 8, 1945: The war is over in Europe. A great day for everyone.

July 7 and 8, 1945: No eggs anywhere in any store. Butter has gone up to 89 cents a pound. In Portland charging over $1.

Aug. 14, 1945: They announced over the radio that war ended with Japan. Everyone celebrates. Built fires in the streets, threw tons of paper, Everyone happy. I was so happy not only for my boy that is fighting, but for all others too, and their mothers, wives and sweethearts.

Another Windham resident named Gilman who also remembers the sorrow and hardships of the war years is Hazel Gilman, who has lived nearly all of her 104 years in the same house on River Road near Grant’s Corner. Hazel holds the town’s Boston Post Cane and says life in Windham during World War II “changed immensely.” She married Kenneth Gilman in 1941 and no sooner had they started a life together when he was called to the war in the Pacific. “I had a hard time getting used to the idea that he was gone.”

Hazel and Ken did not have children but were helping to support members of their family. As a result, Hazel determined she would have to find work. “We simply didn’t have all the things we needed and things were scarce, especially meat and sugar. We depended on ration stamps. We didn’t go anywhere – there was just not enough money.” She found work a short walk up the road at Thayer’s Store.

Ken was in the Navy on a sub tender. Hazel would check the newspaper every day hoping to learn the location of his ship. They would write to each other nearly every day, but often his letters were held up until five or six would arrive at the South Windham Post Office on the same day. When that happened, she recalls that the letter carrier would drive to her house after hours so she wouldn’t have to wait an additional day.

“Everybody had someone they were worried about – a husband, brother or nephew.”

But there was a bright side to the period, she recalls. “People helped each other out. Some large families had more ration stamps than they really needed, so they’d drop the extras off at the store and we’d give them out to folks we knew needed them.”

Hazel chuckled as she remembered the time a shipment of cigarettes, which were rationed, arrived at the store. “We had to hide them because people would try to steal them.” It seems a young store clerk received the shipment and immediately shoved the cartons under the counter, out of sight, but right beside and on top of packages of mothballs. The mothball flavored smokes resulted in many irate patrons. Store staff, however, couldn’t help but find some amusement in the bungled butt blunder.

This column wishes to extend deep respect and remembrance to all lost in war on this Memorial Day. And special thanks to the reader of this column who suggested we highlight and remember “the folks back home,” before the memory fades. <

Friday, April 14, 2023

A matter of the historical record: The enslavers and the enslaved of 18th century Windham

By Walter Lunt

They were called “servants.” Most did not have a surname. Tax records referred to them as “servants for life” (to distinguish them from indentured servants). They were African Americans and in 18th century Maine (a district of Massachusetts) their numbers were estimated to be about 4,000, including about 20 in Windham, according to one scholarly estimate. And to be clear, they were slaves.

A bill of sale sent by Thomas Chute to Moses
Pearson of Standish. Chute was Windham's
founding settler and a tailor. Chute lists 
clothing he made for Pearson's slave.
“There is a misconception that we (Northern slavers) were good to our slaves,” says history researcher Vana Carmona, who has been researching named slaves of Cumberland County for over nine years, “This is something we try to tell ourselves to make us feel better about what (the enslavers) were doing. It’s a lie!”

Carmona’s analysis is echoed by Maine historian Charles P.M. Outwin. Writing for the Maine Historical Society’s publication Maine History, Outwin states, “Although some slaves in New England may have developed a close relationship with their masters, no slave was pampered. All were one way or another exploited in the northern colonies, as they were in the southern colonies.”

Writing in the current issue of Maine History (Winter, 2023), author Gayle Kinney-Cornelius writes, “Although there is much that will never be known, current historic discoveries…prove that New England’s reputation as a bastion of slave well-being and universal freedom is inaccurate. Research historians have dug deeply into archives and uncovered a more balanced understanding of slavery in New England.”

Horrific, even grisly, events induced by northern enslavers do survive history’s whitewashed stories. A Maine minister sent his young slave girl out in the snow to retrieve cows. Unable to find them and too afraid to return without them, the girl remained outside into the night and was found froze to death the next day. In a coastal town, a fisherman sliced off a section of his dead slave’s buttocks to use for fish bait. According to author Kinney-Cornelius, “…efforts to (uncover the dark secrets of colonial slavery) have been hindered by both the dearth of and the erasure of essential historic documentation…when memories of an event causes shame or embarrassment.”

The work of male slaves in the District of Maine and in other New England states consisted of farming, lumbering, fishing, and manufacturing. Enslaved women worked in the home as cooks, laundresses, maids and nurses. Some were trained in spinning, knitting, and weaving.

Documentation from primary and secondary source materials reveal three individuals of African descent enslaved in Windham in the 18th century. They were Phyllis, Chloe and Lonnon. Phyllis was the domestic “servant” of another Maine minister, Parson Peter Thatcher Smith and his wife Elizabeth Hunt Wendell (who built Windham’s well-known Parson Smith House in 1762). Phyllis was in very real terms the “wedding present” of Elizabeth’s mother, Madam Wendell of Boston.

Phyllis has the distinction of being the only slave in Cumberland County to be memorialized in a life-sized portrait. The oil painting on wood, or dummy board, shows a short, slender woman with brown curly hair, brown eyes and a small mouth turned slightly upward in a barely-there smile. She carries a tray of steaming cups of chocolate. Unfortunately, the portrait no longer resides with the historic house. It is unlikely that Phyllis was ever freed, and it is believed she is buried in an unmarked grave in the nearby Smith-Anderson Cemetery.

Two other early Windham slaves were boarded in the same neighborhood on River Road. They were Lonnon and Chloe, owned by the family of Windham’s second settler, William Mayberry. They were married by Parson Smith in 1763, but when Mayberry died soon after, Lonnon and Chloe were bestowed separately to his two sons. Lonnon enlisted in the Continental Army in the War for Independence for which he was paid 20 pounds, which he turned over to the Mayberry’s for his freedom. He would die, probably from misery and exposure under Gen. Washington at Valley Forge, and is buried at Whitemarsh Encampment, New Jersey. Chloe and a daughter, Lucy, remained in Windham for six years, after which, according to historian Outwin, she married Prince, the former slave of William McLellan of Gorham. Prince had gained his freedom following service in the Revolutionary War.

Another likely slave in Windham is identified as Romeo Smith. Little is known about Romeo except that he was born a slave and resided in Windham some time before 1775. With the promise of freedom, he opted for military service in the Revolution. Outwin reports that Romeo “served as drummer for Captain Skillings’ company in the Continental Army.” Following the war, under threat of being reclaimed as a slave, he sought help from General Henry Knox who wrote a proclamation substantiating Romeo’s three years of military service and that “Romeo Smith is a free man…”

One great irony, as noted by historian Kinney-Cornelius, “Black people could not vote, nor could they serve on juries, but they were required to pay taxes. This is…an example of taxation without representation, one of the very conditions that had angered white colonists and led to the American Revolution.”

Carmona, the researcher, writes, “There was nothing “ambiguous” about an unfree servant who is not referred to as a slave. Everything was always at the convenience of the enslavers…the Mayberry’s wanted money from Lonnon when he went to war…the enslavers wanted compensation. But the formerly enslaved got nothing.”

Outwin concludes his commentary this way, “With the slaves of Cumberland County, named and anonymous, they are part of a melancholy company of shadows forever haunting the twilight margins of Maine’s colonial history. <

Friday, April 7, 2023

The Pioneer Personality of Raymond

By Ernest H. Knight

Dominicus Jordan, one of Raymond’s most colorful earliest settlers, came to the town in 1770 when it was just a grant of land from the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was awarded to the company of men of Beverely under Captain Raymond as compensation for unpaid services in the Expedition to Canada in 1690 to replace previously granted land from which they had been evicted after settlement of the disputed boundary between New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

An ell at the Crockett House in Raymond, shown to the left
of the residence, is the original home of one of Raymond's
earliest settlers, Dominicus Jordan. COURTESY PHOTO  
There always have been and still are Jordans in Raymond, though not in the quantity of earlier times, descendants of the pioneer Robert Jordan of Cape Elizabeth, the immigrant minister who specialized in business and town affairs there and whose progeny leapfrogged the surrounding countryside as the local farmlands became overcrowded. One of Robert’s children was Dominicus Jordan, the first of many so named in direct or ancillary lines.

That Dominicus then had a son, Dominicus, who in turn had a son, Dominicus, both of whom were victims of an Indian raid in which the father was killed by a tomahawk and the son taken captive to Canada. After his repatriation he also had a son, Dominicus, to continue the tradition. But it was the third Dominicus who had a brother, Nathaniel, who provided the Dominicus Jordan who first came to Raymond.

Nathaniel Jordan had acquired from the Proprietors of Raymondtown a 100-acre lot in the fledgling township, but it was his son Dominicus who started out in 1770 to stake the claim in chance company with Joseph Dingey from Duxbury, Massachusetts, who was going to Raymondtown for the same purpose, both with the knowledge that the first to arrive would be entitled to an extra 100-acre lot.

A survey had been made by George Peirce, later active in Otisfield, but the survey was poorly done, proved unsuitable and later had to be redone, with considerable confusion for the settlers. In the meantime, Dominicus and Jospeh camped at night at a carrying place on the Presumpscot, from where Joseph made a quiet and early start the next morning, leaving Dominicus to follow later by foot along the shore of Sebago Pond to the river later named for him where he stopped and stayed.

In 1790, due to the influx of settlers and the inadequate map, Joseph and Dominicus were engaged by the proprietors to remap the township, for which they hired Nathan Winslow, and the new layout was presented to the proprietors in 1791. In 1794, both settlers and records had been shuffled so that deeds could be written and Dominicus was deeded his father’s lot and one for himself, Lots 2 and 3 in the Second Range, which included land on both sides of the mouth of the Jordan River and extending back through the present shopping center on Route 302.

The race for first honors was apparently accepted by Dominicus, but not forgotten or forgiven until the score was settled by another race. Jospeh and Dominicus were summoned to a proprietor’s meeting in Beverly on a matter between them of considerable benefit to whichever presented the most convincing case. Traveling together, they stopped at a tavern en route and at some distance after resuming their journey, a sheriff caught up with them to search for a spoon missing from the table where they had partaken a meal, resulting from information from an anonymous tipster.

Joseph was surprised, though Dominicus was not, when the spoon was found in Joseph’s pocket, and he was escorted back to the tavern to straighten matters out with the aggrieved tavern keeper. Dominicus had to continue his travels alone, but he was enabled to go before the proprietors with uncontested testimony.

The homestead building of Dominicus Jordan, perhaps the oldest structure in Raymond, is the ell behind what is called the Crockett House.

The name Dominicus, along with many others of biblical or ancient derivation, is never heard now except in historical context, but it does have honorable significance in Maine and Raymond, thanks to Robert Jordan and our first pioneer settler of Raymond, Dominicus Jordan. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.