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  • The Beginnings of the Maine Society, Children of the American Revolution

    The text below is copied from the introduction of The Maine Sheets: A 75 Year History of the Maine State Society Children of the American Revolution. Copies of this book are available for purchase from the Senior State President.

     

       There are early records of local Societies in Maine that did not survive and do not directly connect to the State Society that lasts to this day. The National Society was formally organized on April 5, 1895. In February of 1896, the Edward Preble Society was organized in Portland. However, this society was last heard from in 1899. It is a similar story for the John Greenleaf Society based in Lewiston and Auburn. It was organized in December of 1896, but there are no records of activity after 1899. The Mary Howard Society was organized in Bangor in June 1898, but only active until 1901. A second society in Bangor, Parke Holland Society, organized in March of 1916, but was inactive after 1923 and finally officially disbanded on October 13, 1927. The James Howard Society in Augusta was the first society with any kind of lasting power. It organized in July 1920, but disbanded on March 14, 1930. A second society organized in Portland in January 1921 under the leadership of Mrs. F. R. Hayden. But the Julia Dearborn Society disbanded on October 13, 1932. The first society in York County, the Mary Wilkins Truesdell Society in York Beach, organized in March 1921, but disbanded March 14, 1935 and the National C.A.R. Magazine reported in 1935 that there were no longer any societies in Maine. However, a State Director was still listed and work was underway to revive C.A.R. in the state.

       Just two years later, in 1937, the (Senior) National President of the (Children) of the American Revolution, Mrs. William H. Pouch, appointed Miss Carmeta J. Appleby of Gov. James Bowdoin Chapter, D.A.R., as (Senior) State President for Maine C.A.R.

       Maine became the thirty-third State Society in the National Society, C.A.R., joining just after Illinois added a State Society. At the same time, the National Society was divided into nine divisions, with a National Vice President assigned to represent each: Northern, Northeastern, Eastern, Southeastern, Central, West Central, Southern, Western and Pacific. Maine was a member of the Northeastern Division, now the New England Division.

       The first society of the Children of the American Revolution in the State of Maine was the William Fairfield Society in Portland. It was officially organized on October 27, 1938 with Mrs. Donald Piper Homer (Doris) as the Organizing (Senior) President and the Elizabeth Wadsworth Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution as the sponsoring organization. Mrs. Homer was a direct descendent of the namesake of the society, William Fairfield.

       The Society was organized with fifteen charter members: Harley Flaws, Elizabeth Heywood, Frances Nourse, Harriet Nourse, Gladys Paddock, John Richards, Alice Veazie, Paul Veazie, Victor Veazie, William Veazie, Penelope Chapman, Judith Piper, Patricia Piper, James Gibson, Ivan Bliss and Richard Dodge Jr.

       The Maine State Society formally organized on April 3, 1939 with 74 members in three societies and an organizational meeting was held in Augusta, hosted by the Fort Western Society. This meeting was attended by Mrs. William H. Pouch ([Senior] National President, 1937-1939) of New York, New York, Miss Carmeta Appleby and several members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and C.A.R. Miss Appleby, (senior) State President, appointed Alan Richards of the William Fairfield Society as Junior (member) State President and Harley Flaws, also of the William Fairfield Society, as State Treasurer, an office which he held until he went into military service during World War 2.

       In his report later, State President Richards noted “The morning of April 3 dawned bright and clear and, as the day and night preceding had been very stormy, we felt that Mrs. Pouch had brought the sunshine with her, for surely one so lovely could even dispense sunshine… Mrs. Pouch’s lovely personality was so inspiring that we are looking forward to the time when she might come again.” (N.S.C.A.R. Magazine, Volume XXIX, Number 4, Page 33)

       During this meeting, the members and guests visited the State House and were received by Governor Barrows. Mrs. Pouch also visited WBDO Radio where she gave a 15 minute program on the Children of the American Revolution. At the close of the meeting, all went to the home of Gov. and Mrs. Barrows for tea by invitation of Mrs. Barrows. During the tea, members of Fort Western Society in Colonial costume danced the minuet.

       Later that evening, the William Fairfield Society hosted a dinner and formal reception in the ballroom at the Eastland Hotel in Portland. Mrs. Pouch presented C.A.R. bracelets to Dorothy Johnson, President of the Fort Western Society, and Elizabeth Heywood, President of the William Fairfield Society. She also gave silver baby spoons to Joyce Kimball and one-month old Penelope Ann Chapman, the state’s first Cradle Roll member.

       On June 3, 1939 the first State Field Day was held at Montpelier, a replica of the home of Gen. Henry Knox. Special guests included Miss Margaret McIlroy, State Vice Regent of Maine D.A.R., the State President of Maine S.A.R., Mr. Roy A. Evans, and boys from Opportunity Farm.

       The first State Conference of the Maine Society, Children of the American Revolution was held in Portland on May 25, 1940. The (Senior) National President, Mrs. John Morrison Kerr (1939-1941) of Washington, DC, Mrs. William H. Pouch, immediate Past (senior) National President, Mrs. Enos R. Bishop, the (senior) State President of the Massachusetts Society Children of the American Revolution were in attendance along with members of the DAR (Mrs. Fred C. Morgan, Vice President general, Miss Margaret E. McIlroy, Maine State Regent) and Sons of the American Revolution (Mr. Roy O. Evans, Maine State President). Members were present from a total of 5 societies.

       Miss Appleby appointed a complete set of Junior (member) Officers, including Alice Veazie of the William Fairfield Society as Junior President.

       In the same year that the Maine Society held its first meeting, 1939, the National President, Mrs. John Morrison Kerr, appointed the first Junior (member) National President of the National Society, C.A.R., Lyons Mills Howland of Highland Park, Michigan.

       Not long after the Maine Society was founded, the United States of America entered into World War 2 (Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, just three years after the William Fairfield Society was organized). During the war, members of the Maine Society sold war bonds, volunteered for work with the American Red Cross, helped in day nurseries, assisted in hospitals and provided other meaningful work in the local community. Members also reported sending clothing and Christmas packages to mountain schools, sent Christmas gifts and money to Indian children at the Old Town Reservation, made scrap books for the children’s ward at hospitals and sold Easter Lilies for the benefit of the Pine Tree Fund for Crippled Children.

       In 1979, Shirley Atwood with the Maine Society Daughters of the American Revolution sent a letter to the Maine C.A.R. Senior State President, Mrs. Joy Knight. In that letter, reference was made to two gavels given by the Frances Dighton Williams Chapter to Maine C.A.R. One was a gavel given to Frances Dighton Williams Chapter in 1915 by Miss Mary Hall and then given to the Maine State Society C.A.R. in 1948. This gavel was made of wood from the Francis Scott Keye House. The second gavel was given to Frances Dighton Williams Chapter in 1907 by Miss Sarah Wasgatt and later given to a new C.A.R. society in Waterville (presumably the Asa Redington Society). The head was made of wood from the U.S. frigate Adams, which was sunk by Commodore Morris in September 1814 to prevent the capture by the British, near the mouth of the Soudabascook Stream. The handle was made of wood from a beam in the roof of Col. Gabriel Johonnet house in Hampden. The silver plate was from a bugle used at the encampment of the Second Maine Volunteer Regiment in 1861. The plate upon which to tap the gavel was made from a tree near the birthplace of Dorothea Dix in Hampden.

       Plans for a state news letter were first made in 1941, and a few editions were published, but a lasting sheet was not established for another 20 years.

       The first edition of the Maine Society newsletter was given to members at the State Conference in 1961 and was called “The Main Sail.” The name was quickly changed to the “Main Sheet” with Brian and Mary Ames of Brewer as editors. Miss Roberta Jewell of Bath was President in 1962 and the newsletter contained an article by Sue Sturtevant on the dig at Popham Colony site at Phippsburg. (The Maine Sheet, December 1988)

       The newsletter was produced in varying numbers over the years, but was almost always sent to all DAR societies and presented at the DAR conferences each year, as well as to every member and society.

       Initially, there was a member Newsletter Chairman who took care of editing and publishing the newsletter. However, eventually it became tradition for the newsletter to be written, edited and produced by the Senior State President, though a few State Presidents took on the responsibility. There were also times when local societies would take control of publishing the State newsletter.

       In 1975, newly elected State President Pamela Small added a new column to the newsletter called “Letters to the President.” Intended to be like letters to the editor, the goal was for members to write to the President and offer thoughts and opinions on ways to increase activity, possible projects and activities and solutions for problems they have encountered with C.A.R.

       After several years of inactivity, Mrs. Wayne Johnson, Senior State President, restarted publication of The Main Sheet in March of 1981, with the comment that it was the “beginning of a dream.”

       In 1983, the official name of the state newsletter was changed slightly, and it came to be known as The Maine Sheet, the name that remains to this day.

       In 1994, a new column was added to the newsletter called “Getting To Know You” under the editing of the Senior State President, Connee Jellison.

       In 2010, in an effort to save money and “go green,” “The Maine Sheet was distributed by e-mail for the first time, by Senior State President Mrs. Laura T. Kwon.