Thanks to a wonderful friend, we now have a website (still under construction, but already rated as excellent by those who have seen it). Go to www.cherryfieldhistorical.com and be greeted by a picture of our museum. Browse around, let us know what you think and make any suggestions for improvement. We are really excited about being able to bring this to our members and the general public. We hope the result will be an increase in our membership. There is a section for “members only” which will be available to current members (dues paid up to date – user = ____ / pw = __________). The user name and password will be provided by separate e-mail to others as dues are paid. The user name and password will be changed annually.
Please note on the order form that there is now a place for your e-mail address. Future newsletters may be sent that way – you may then print them, if you wish. You would also be able to forward them to others whom you think might be interested.
Our 2nd Annual tour was more successful than the first, seeing an increase in both sites to tour and participants. It was a beautiful day and the comments about the tour were very encouraging.
The Third Annual Tour is being planned for the weekend of July 26, 2009. This will give everyone time to mark their calendars and plan to join us for a wonderful social and historical day.
The Capital Campaign has received two grants totaling $75,000 – one from the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation and one from the Davis Family Foundation. These funds will ensure that ground-breaking will take place in the spring of 2009, while applications for further grants are being submitted throughout the winter.
Phoenix Risen from the Ashes
By Arabella McNamara Mitchell
On the evening of December 10, 1903, occurred the regular and teacher meeting of the Cherryfield Baptist Church. We had been studying about the beautiful temple at Jerusalem, and as we came out into the starlight, the clock striking in the tower called attention to the beauty of our temple as it stood grand and fair against the starry sky. It never looked so symmetrical and beautiful, and never had it seemed so dear as we congratulated ourselves on worshipping in such a church home.
Before daylight, we again stood looking up at our beautiful meeting house, but now with tears in our eyes as we saw it being devoured by flames – the tall, graceful steeple now only a frame of living coal. We watched it till it fell and darkness settled over the ruins. Dark indeed was the outlook for the Baptist Church! Not only was the building gone with no insurance, but as an organization, the church had no claim to the foundation nor to the lot on which it was situated.
When the meeting house was built, the Methodists alone owned a place of worship in Cherryfield; the Congregationalists, Universalists and others bought pews in the new house and worshipped with the Baptists. A pew-owners organization was formed and to it belonged the lot. This explains why the church had no insurance when the building was destroyed.
It had been standing about 30 years, having been dedicated April 15, 1874. It was largely the gift of our spirited townsman, David Campbell, at the cost of $16,000 and had a seating capacity of 500.
It was a building of which the whole town was justly proud. To the members of the church who had worshipped within its walls – especially those who had seen its walls rise 30 years before – it was more than pride; it was reverence and affection. Truly our hearts ached and our courage ebbed when we saw it in ashes.
Fable tells of a Phoenix who, when its work is finished, is consumed amidst sweet odors; while from the ashes of the parent bird arises a young Phoenix, destined to fill the place of its predecessors. The history of the new building seems almost as miraculous as the birth of the fable bird.
To build a new house of worship under existing circumstances seemed almost impossible, and to add to the difficulties, our beloved pastor, Rev. Fred A. Snow, was just leaving us. We must face the situation alone; yet, not alone for the Divine Helper has been ever at our side.
The church realized as never before its entire dependence on the Almighty Father, and after much earnest prayed, we were able to say, “The God of Heaven, He will prosper us; therefore, we will arise and build.”
The church not only prayed, but also “the people had a mind to work”, and when people both work and pray, things are brought to pass.
The Methodist people kindly offered the use of their meeting house, and this kindness will ever be remembered with gratitude.
The church became incorporated that business might be done legally, and the pew-owners gave to it their claim to the foundation and lot; and at the beginning of the New Year, the church was ready for work. A soliciting committee consisted of Deacon Charles Campbell, Deacon James P. Laurence, and Mr. P. B. Guptil. During the winter, the soliciting committee was busy, and all friends of the church and all sister churches in the state were given an opportunity to help in the work. Generous ____________ was the response. Friends at home and abroad showed their interest and sympathy, and we feel assured that the prayers of those 14 churches who prayed as well as gave were heard before the throne in Heaven and brought added blessings to the struggling church in Cherryfield.
In the spring of 1904, our hearts were gladdened and our hands strengthened by the coming among us of Pastor Rev. Brown E. Smith. The church had been well supplied with preaching during the winter, but the need of a pastor was sorely felt and the sending to us of a man of his experience and devotion to the work seemed another token of our kind Father’s care.
Enough money was now in the treasury or pledged to encourage the building committee to begin work. An architect was engaged and plans made for a new house on the old foundation, which had not been greatly injured by the fire. Mr. John Strout was engaged as master builder, and to his ability and faithfulness and the carefulness of Deacon Campbell in ordering material is the fact due that in every item of building the cost has fallen below the estimate.
Through the summer, the work progressed slowly but with great care in both labor and material, all things used being of the best and done to last many years. At the end of the first year, the house was boarded and the roof shingled when cold weather compelled the work to stop. Before time for the work to begin again, our hopes from the Amasa Wiley estate were realized, and we were able to begin work in the spring assured that before another winter had passed we could dedicate our new meeting house.
Since that time, the work of furnishing money and materials has seemed to be under the direct guidance of God. Many times the work seemed coming to a stand on account of a lack of funds, but each time some new friend has come forward and the work has gone steadily onward.
We have yet to provide appropriate seats and our fine pipe organ is yet to be replaced, but we feel satisfied that these will come in His own good time.
The work of raising money has been under the direction of Deacon Gilbert H. Ward, and our success is largely due to his good courage and untiring devotion. The work of keeping the accounts and ordering material and all business incident to such work has been done by Deacon Charles Campbell, while Deacon James F. Laurence has looked after the daily work of the builders. If to any shall the welcome, “well done and faithful servant!” be said, it must surely greet these two aged saints who have carried so many burdens and carried them so cheerfully and effectively during the past two years. Their lives have been long among us, and this meeting house is a fitting crown to their labor of love.
As we look back over the two years, we see only pleasant remembrances. The building and soliciting committees have held their meetings together, and other members of the church have always been welcome and have aided greatly by their advice and in encouragement. Our pastor, too, has been with us in every detail of the work, and his counsel and cooperation have been no small item in the great whole. The work has gone on without friction. Sometimes the solicitors have had hard problems to solve, but they have met only kindness and good will. The builders have had their share of difficulties. The burdens of both committees have been shared by the whole church and its many friends and will only serve to bind all more closely together.
And now, remembering God’s great love to us and His help in our time of need, this is our word to others in a like struggle. “Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee whither-so-ever thou goest.”
Boston Post Cane:
Leslie (Bud) Randall received the cane on his 95th birthday. The cane is presented to the oldest citizen of the town and has been traditional since 1909 when the Boston Post newspaper gave each town a gold-headed cane for that purpose.
Bud was born in Cherryfield and started his school days at the Lower Corner School. He spent many years working in the blueberry industry and as a Washington County deputy sheriff.
A nice write-up of the event was done by Burni Andres in the Downeast Coastal Press.
Visit our store on the website and see what items we have for sale. Pictures of each item will be coming later. Use the order form at the end of the newsletter.
We hope to be adding new items in the spring and summer of 2009.
Cherryfield and Milbridge are planning to combine their annual celebrations this year. The main reason given is lack of volunteers. Major portions of each celebration will be retained – the Salmon Run in Cherryfield and the Codfish Relay in Milbridge.
The scheduled date is Saturday, June 20, 2009. More in the spring newsletter.