The China Bicentennial
To the editor:
Let’s start with the year [we had] without a summer, 1816. Imagine a town that bases its whole existence on farming or selling goods to the farmer. Without summer it’s impossible to raise food and grain for your family and farm animals. Families came together and survived.
In the summer of 1817 word was passed around that Maine would become the 23rd state with the Missouri Compromise. A non-slave state with towns incorporated by the Massachusetts Legislators. A delegation from the north end of Harlem traveled to Boston to get incorporated as China.
On February 5, 1818, an agreement was made but when ratified by the town in June the southern portion did not agree with their northern neighbors. They remained the town of Harlem for another four years. Was it because of a strong religious difference (Baptist in the north, Quaker in the south) or a strong community bonded by a bad year for planting in 1816?
Our bicentennial this year will look at what life was like in 1818. Living with wood heat, no electricity, canning, drying meats and fruits, making your clothes and making soap to hand wash them. Taking care of your neighbors just as you care for your livestock. It was a time of survival, but it also produced generations who lived and prospered in China.
For them, we must celebrate 200 years as the Town of China. Please join me.
China bicentennial coordinator
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