Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post #5, in Waterville, selected Val Bard as Legionnaire of the Year for 2022 in recognition of outstanding leadership and service.
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On June 12, 2023, American Legion Post #5, in Waterville held its installation of officers. The past National Commander Tony Jordan installed the elected and appointed officers for 2023-2024. His installing chaplain was Bob Jordan.
American Legion Post #5, in Waterville, installed its officers for the coming year on June 8, 2022. Post #5 is still active fulfilling its mission of honoring men and women who served their country by wearing their uniform proudly. Many of the requirements for American Legion membership have been modified and all veterans are welcome.
For more information call 207 859-3055. Post #5 meetings are held the first and third Saturday, at 9 a.m., at the new location, at 120 Drummond Avenue, Waterville.
Members of American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Unit #39, Madison will be distributing bright red poppies in exchange for a donation throughout the month of May. The Flanders Fields poppy has become an internationally known and recognized symbol of the lives sacrificed in war and the hope that none died in vain. The American Legion Family called upon Congress to proclaim the Friday before Memorial Day as National Poppy Day, which was officially designated as such in 2017.
Honor our fallen warriors and contribute to the continuing needs of our veterans on National Poppy Day, May 27, 2022.
“Wearing the poppy on National Poppy Day and throughout Memorial Day weekend is one small way to honor and remember our fallen warriors who willingly served our nation and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Unit #39 President Karen Lytle “We must never forget.”
The poppy also honors hospitalized and disabled veterans who handcraft many of the red, crepe paper flowers. Making the poppies provides a financial and therapeutic benefit to the veterans, as well as a benefit to thousands of other veterans.
When The American Legion Family adopted the poppy as its memorial flower in the early 1920s, the blood-red icon became an enduring symbol of honor for the sacrifices of our veterans from the battlefields of France in World War I to today’s global war on terror. The American Legion Auxiliary raises about $4 million each year distributing poppies throughout the nation, with 100 percent of the funds raised going directly to help veterans, military, and their families.
The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) is a community of volunteers serving veterans, military, and their families. Our members also support the mission of The American Legion in improving the quality of life for our nation’s veterans.
The more than 600,000 ALA members across the country volunteer millions of hours annually and raise millions of dollars in service to veterans, military, and their families. Founded in 1919, the ALA is one of the oldest patriotic membership organizations in the U.S.A. To learn more and to volunteer, join, and donate, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org or if you like to join a local unit, contact Karen Lytle, President, American Legion Auxiliary, Tardiff-Belanger Unit #39, PO Box 325, Madison, ME 04950, or email@example.com or (207)696-4445.
Tardiff-Belanger American Legion Post #39 and Auxiliary Unit #39, in Madison, held a Military Child’s Table Setting Ceremony following the Installation of Officers. The ceremony was performed jointly by Post #39 Chaplin, Rich Robinson, and Unit #39 Chaplin, Amy Washburn.
April is designated as Month of the Military Child – a time to honor the sacrifices made by military families worldwide, with an emphasis on the experience of the dependent children of military members serving at home and overseas.
The ceremony includes: The potted flowering plant symbolizing that a military child by flower and flourish where they are planted; the hand spade recognized that they may be transplanted to a new place in the world at a moment’s notice; the birthday hat and unlit candles, along with the baseball and glove, and ballet slippers represent special occasion that are missed; the family photo depicting a child with his/her uniformed parent/parents demonstrates our country’s strength; the final touch to the table setting is the American flag to remind us that families are united in their commitment to national service, at home or away.
Veterans of Waterville and Augusta
After the Revolutionary War, the demobilization of the army increased the population of the Kennebec Valley. This article and the following will describe some of the Revolutionary veterans who became part of local history, chosen more or less randomly. A visit to old cemeteries in area towns would undoubtedly add more names.
In her history of the South Solon meeting house, Mildred Cummings explained that many demobilized soldiers from southern New England came to the District of Maine for its inexpensive land. Such a move would be especially appealing to younger sons who, until after the new United States government and laws took effect, could expect the family farm to be inherited by their oldest brother.
(Solon is farther up the Kennebec River, outside the area of this study, but friends have assured this writer its meeting house is worth a visit.)
The number of central Kennebec Valley settlers, veterans and others, who came from New Hampshire and Massachusetts substantiates Cummings’ explanation.
Kingsbury added, in his Kennebec County history, that survivors of Benedict Arnold’s 1775 march to Québec remembered the Kennebec Valley as a beautiful place with land and timber resources, and some brought their families to live there.
One such was Colonel Jabez Mathews (1743-1828), according to the Waterville centennial history. Mathews went up the Kennebec with Arnold’s expedition, returned to his home town of Gray and in 1794 brought his two young sons with him to Waterville, where he was a tavern-keeper.
The Waterville history includes a chapter on military history written by Brevet Brigadier General Isaac Sparrow Bangs. After much research, he and collaborators came up with a list of more than two dozen Revolutionary War veterans with a connection to Waterville, the majority men who settled there after the war.
Ernest Marriner wrote a brief piece (reproduced on line) in which he said only two men enlisted from the small Waterville/Winslow settlement, John Cool from the Waterville side of the Kennebec and Simeon Simpson from the Winslow side.
With his essay is a photo of the memorial tablet in the Waterville Public Library listing 24 Revolutionary veterans in Waterville, most, obviously, men who came after the war. His list and Bangs’ list are similar but not identical.
The first man Bangs mentioned (he is not on the memorial tablet) was Captain Dean Bangs (May 31, 1756 – Dec. 6, 1845), a Massachusetts native who was a mariner before the war, a privateer in 1775 and for two years beginning in 1776, a soldier in Abijah Bangs’ company in Colonel Dike’s regiment (probably Colonel Nicholas Dike, of the Massachusetts militia).
In 1802 Bangs bought “a large tract of land” in Sidney, part of it overlooking the Kennebec River, where he farmed and “reared a large family.” Waterville was his “mercantile home.”
As of the 1902 history’s publication, he and some of his family were buried in a private cemetery on his land. A memorial in the cemetery said that Dean Bangs’ father, Elkanah Bangs, was a privateer in the Revolution who was captured and died “on the Jersey prison ship at Wallabout Bay, New York, in July 1777, aged 44 years.”
(Since the memorial was erected by Dean Bangs’ grandson Isaac Sparrow, this writer concludes that the Isaac Sparrow Bangs who wrote the chapter is related to Elkanah and Dean Bangs.)
John Cool, for whom, according to Bangs and Marriner, Waterville’s Cool Street is named, enlisted in the Continental Army from Winslow on March 12, 1777, and was discharged March 12, 1780. In 1835, “on a paper” (perhaps concerning a pension?) he said he was 78 years old and had lived in by-then-Waterville for 70 years. He lived on Cool Street another 10 years, dying Oct. 5, 1845, six months after he turned 89.
Sampson Freeman, “a free man of color,” was another Continental Army veteran who served his three years, from Feb. 1, 1777, to Feb. 5, 1780, including service at Valley Forge dated June 1778 (the month the army moved out of that encampment). Freeman enlisted from Salem, Massachusetts; after the war he lived in Peru, Maine, before moving to Waterville in 1835, where he died in 1843.
Asa Redington (Dec. 22, 1761 – March 31, 1845), according to records Bangs and colleagues found, enlisted from New Hampshire in June 1778 and was discharged in December; in June 1779 re-enlisted for a year; in March 1781 enlisted for the third time.
He served in New England the first two terms, and after March 1781 went with the army to Yorktown. After Cornwallis surrendered, Bangs wrote, Redington came back north with the army to West Point, where on Dec. 23, 1783, he was discharged “without pay, and left to travel 300 miles to his home, carrying the musket he had borne during his long service.”
Redington moved to Vassalboro in 1784, married into the Getchell family, and in 1792 moved to Waterville for the rest of his life. The musket, Bangs wrote, remained in the family for years, until Redington’s oldest son gave it to the State of Maine.
Marriner added that Redington, with his father-in-law, Nehemiah Getchell, built the first dam at Ticonic Falls. Redington became a mill owner, added “a shipyard and store, and accumulated more land.”
He was the Justice of the Peace who convened Waterville’s first town meeting, held on July 26, 1802. The Redington Museum is in the Silver Street house that he built in 1814 for one of his sons.
Another prominent Waterville veteran was Dr. Obadiah Williams (March 21, 1752 – June 1799). The second of Waterville’s early physicians, he enlisted from Epping, New Hampshire, and was at Bunker Hill as a surgeon in Major General John Stark’s regiment in the Continental Army. He served for the duration of the war and came to Winslow in 1792. Several sources say he built the first frame house on the west (later Waterville) side of the Kennebec.
Augusta also had Revolutionary veterans among its early settlers. One of the most prominent was Daniel Cony (Aug. 3, 1752 – Jan. 21, 1842). He has been mentioned in several previous articles, notably as the founder of Cony Female Academy, opened in 1816 and closed in 1857 (see The Town Line, Sept. 2, 2021, for a summary history of the Academy and a brief biography of Daniel Cony).
A Massachusetts native, Cony was a physician practicing in Shutesbury when the Revolutionary fighting began at Lexington and Concord. North wrote in his history of Augusta that Cony enrolled in the Massachusetts militia in the fall of 1776 and joined General Horatio Gates’ army at Saratoga, New York.
North tells the story of an early adventure: a leader was needed to cross an area exposed to fire from a British battery, and he volunteered. “[T]he young adjutant at the head of his men by his wary approach drew the enemy’s fire, felt the wind of their balls, then dashed forward with his command unharmed.”
Cony and his family came to Augusta (then Hallowell) in 1778. His many public positions after the war included town clerk and selectman in Hallowell; member in both houses of the Massachusetts General Court; member of the Massachusetts electoral college when George Washington was elected to his second term as president of the United States; delegate to Maine’s 1819 Constitutional Convention; member of the new Maine legislature and of the Maine executive council; and Kennebec County probate judge.
Consistent with his enthusiasm for education, after the Massachusetts legislature chartered Hallowell Academy in 1791 (during one of his terms as a legislator), he became a member of the first board of trustees; and he was an overseer of Bowdoin College, founded in 1794, for its first three years.
On Oct, 17, 1797, in honor of the anniversary of Burgoyne’s surrender, he began building a new house. That house burned June 13, 1834. The same year he built a new one, described on a Museum in the Streets plaque as “a double brick visible on the hill behind the fort,” where he died.
In 1815, renowned portrait painter Gilbert Stuart did portraits of Cony and his wife, Susanna Curtis Cony, according to an on-line Central Maine newspapers report dated May 1918. In 1917, the Cony Alumni Association obtained permission to replicate Cony’s portrait (the original belongs to the Minneapolis Institute of Art). The resulting canvas print, framed, was hung in the Cony High School library in August 2017, according to the report.
Seth Pitts, Jr. (1754 – Aug. 22, 1846), and his younger brother, Shubael Pitts (1766-1849), were born in Taunton, Massachusetts, and both served in the Revolution. Their parents moved to Hallowell before 1781.
Seth married Elizabeth Lewis from Canton, Massachusetts. Shubael married twice, each time to one of midwife Martha Ballard’s assistants. His first wife was Parthenia Barton (1772- Sept. 4, 1794), from Vassalboro; an on-line history says Martha Ballard was “in attendance” at her death. On July 28, 1796, Shubael Pitts married Sally Cox or Cocks (born 1770).
Shubael made his living as a blacksmith, with his shop on the east side of Water Street, in Augusta. Sally “operated a boarding home for debtors in the same area,” the on-line history says.
When Augusta’s first militia company was established in 1796, Shubael Pitts was one of four captains, according to Kingsbury. (Another was Thomas Pitts, who was born too late to fight in the Revolution but was active in the War of 1812.)
The on-line history says Shubael and Sally are buried in Augusta’s Kling Cemetery (also called the Reed-Cony Cemetery, on the east side of West River Road [Route 104]). Parthenia is buried in Mount Vernon Cemetery (identified as “the old section” of Mount Hope Cemetery).
One of the veterans who spent his last years in Augusta had an unusual service record. Ephraim Leighton (January 1763 – March 15, 1851) first visited the area with his father, Benjamin Leighton, “when there were but three houses in Augusta,” according to Kingsbury. Coming from Edgecomb, they went on to Mount Vernon “by blazed trees” and settled there, Kingsbury wrote.
By May 1776, according to an on-line source, Ephraim was back in Edgecomb, because it was from there that, at the age of 11 (according to the source; 13, by this writer’s math), he enlisted in Captain Henry Tibbetts’ company in a Massachusetts regiment “and served as a waiter to Capt. Tibbetts.” He was discharged in November 1776, but despite his brief and not very military service he was later awarded a pension.
Leighton married Esther Tibbetts on Nov, 23, 1789, in Rome. He was a farmer in Rome and Mount Vernon, moved as far north as Parkman and after about 1813 lived in Augusta. He is buried in the city’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
John Chandler (Feb. 1, 1762 – Sept. 24 or 25, 1841) was another Revolutionary War veteran who came to Augusta late in life. Born in Epping, New Hampshire, third son of a blacksmith who died in 1776, in 1777, at age 15, he joined the Continental Army. He was captured by the British, escaped, was captured again in May 1779 and escaped in September. Returning to Epping, he promptly re-enlisted.
At some point he served at Fort Detroit, in what is now Detroit, Michigan, under future Secretary of War (in Thomas Jefferson’s administration) Henry Dearborn. Dearborn thought enough of the illiterate youngster to lend him money to buy a farm in Monmouth in the District of Maine, where Chandler and his wife Mary settled in 1784.
Wikipedia says “a local schoolmaster” educated Chandler. He became a successful blacksmith and prominent enough in town to be elected to the Massachusetts Senate (1803-1805) and the United States House of Representatives (March 1805 to March 1809).
Declining renomination, he became Kennebec County Sheriff in 1808 and in 1812 a major general in the Massachusetts militia. His story will continue with the history of the War of 1812.
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Nash, Charles Elventon, The History of Augusta (1904).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870).
Whittemore, Rev. Edwin Carey, Centennial History of Waterville 1802-1902 (1902).
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, artist Gilbert Stuart was misnamed Stuart Gilbert.
While many excellent veterans organizations exist, like the American Legion and VFW, historically the focus of these organizations has been on male veterans and the support they need. With men making up about nine-in-ten of all U.S. military veterans, this makes sense, but Nichole Jordan saw a need for more supportive activities aimed at women veterans. To this end, she started Women Veteran’s Glamping in 2019.
“Glamping” is a portmanteau of the words “glamorous” and “camping” and aims to provide participants with modern amenities while enjoying the Great Outdoors.
At the first Women Veteran’s Glamping event Jordan heard from many of the attendees who said they only knew one other woman veteran in the state. “Being a woman veteran, that really hurt to hear,” she says.
With some amazing sponsors and support, Women Veteran’s Glamping was born. Local graphic design experts from Got Vinyl? Ink & Printing, in Vassalboro, helped design their logo featuring a dragonfly, which represents dedication, beauty, honor, courage, love and selflessness. The goal of Women Veteran’s Glamping is to provide a safe and supportive environment for women veterans to relax and connect with other veterans while enjoying the best of Maine’s natural scenery.
At each event, a Quilt of Valor is presented to a deserving veteran to honor their service and sacrifice to the country. “The quilt equals healing,” says Jordan. “The warmth of the wrap and love that is put into it comforts one’s soul on a day when all seems lost or forgotten. Focus is on those most in need of comfort and healing first; those who need to know their sacrifice is acknowledged, those who need the affirmation of a hug, and those who never heard the words ‘Welcome home.’”
Women Veteran’s Glamping has partnered with two local businesses, Maine Forest Yurts, in Durham, and House in the Woods, in Lee, Maine, to host their weekend retreats. During the first two years they served mostly women veterans in Maine, but in September of 2021, they became an official nonprofit and expanded their events to include women veterans in all 50 states.
Women Veteran’s Glamping has held three previous events with 16 women veterans attending each. This year, they are stepping up their game with seven events planned throughout the year. So far, 152 women have signed up. The trips start on Friday and run through Sunday. Five of the events are scheduled at Maine Forest Yurts, in Durham, with two additional weekends taking place at House in the Woods, in Lee, Maine. Jordan hopes to extend the weekend trips to week-long getaways in 2023.
“Our five-year plan is finding 50 to 100 acres for our own retreat center that will be open year round,” Jordan says. “We will continue to keep Women Veteran’s Glamping in Maine and hope we can secure the land and buildings needed for this down the road. The U.S. has 300,000 women veterans, not including active duty women. There is a calling and a need for this. One step at a time. With God and Country behind us all things are possible.”
Currently, cost for participants is $250 and includes lodging, food, all activities and required supplies, but Jordan is busy fundraising, hoping to cover expenses for most participants in the future.
On Saturday, January 15, Women Veteran’s Glamping will hold a Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser, from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m., at St. Bridget Center, in Vassalboro. Then, on Friday, January 28, there is a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., at the Auburn VFW Post #1603, 588 Minot Ave. (To-go boxes will be available if pandemic restrictions require either of the events to be take-out only.) They have an on-going quilt raffle as well, with the winner announced live on their Facebook page on February 19 at noon. T-shirts, printed by Got Vinyl? Ink & Printing, in Vassalboro, will be available for a suggested donation of $20 each. They have also connected with local redemption centers throughout Maine and set up accounts to collect funds, so check with the business where you drop off bottles and cans if you’d like to donate them to the cause.
“This year alone we need over $65,000 in fundraising,” she says. “It grows as time goes on. We still have to purchase 25 sleeping bags; a large, flat top grill with 30-pound propane tanks; and we are fundraising for a 7×16-foot trailer to haul all our event gear in.”
Jordan says fundraising has been difficult because many companies are already giving to veteran organizations with a male focus. “Men get $8,000 hunting trips given to them, yet women veterans do bottle-and-can redemption collections, meal fundraising and quilt raffles to cover the lodging, food and activities for women veterans,” she says. “We have sent out 350 donation request letters to the top companies in Maine, New Hampshire and across the country. We get back lots of rejection letters. Some say they don’t want to donate because we are so new, some say they can’t donate because they already support other, predominately male veteran programs in the state of Maine. We offer an opportunity for recreation and the camaraderie of shared experiences in a safe environment. We will continue to hope that companies and others will want to help honor Women Veteran’s Glamping.”
2020 was a difficult year for everyone with the pandemic going on, but it was a particularly painful one for Nichole Jordan. That year, just before Mothers Day, she received the news that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Within three weeks, she had part of her right lung removed. While recovering, she moved back with her folks who had recently bought a house in China. “I am here for when they need me as they age and as I heal from my lung cancer,” she says. “If God lets me live to see 50 years old this year, I promised I would be giving back for my next 50 years to Women Veteran’s Glamping.”
Previously, Jordan lived with her family in Vassalboro from 2010-2012. Her son graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, before attending the University of Maine at Presque Isle, and then enlisting for active duty in the U.S. Air Force. Her daughter graduated from China Middle School before moving to Texas for high school. Nichole Jordan currently lives in China with her parents and her loyal black lab, Willow Grace.
To find out more about Women Veteran’s Glamping or sign up for a weekend retreat, please visit their website at www.WomenVeteransGlamping.org. To contact Nichole Jordan or to find out more about donating to the cause of women veterans, call 456-6114 or email WomenVeteransGlamping@gmail.com.
One of the primary goals of Scouting is to instill in young people a desire to become participating citizens and foster good citizenship. During Veterans Day, Scouts all over the area were busy working alongside veterans in several projects and events.
Youth and leaders from Augusta Cub Scout Pack #603 and Troop #603 assisted a Veterans Seminar, held at American Legion Post #205. Scouts from Jackman and Boothbay took part in U.S. Flag retirement ceremonies on Veterans Day. Winslow Scout Troop #433 (Boys), Scout Troop #433 (Girls) and Cub Pack #445 all attended the Waterville Veterans Day ceremony at Memorial Park, on the corner of Park and Elm streets, joining veteran groups and others to honor those who answered the call to duty. The ceremony had a presentation of the five branches of the military as well as the POW flag.
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