Ruth Ham: Shapleigh Community Day is this Saturday – Foster’s Daily Democrat

The big day — Saturday, July 24 — is almost here for all of Shapleigh to turn out to celebrate 225 years of being incorporated. Shapleigh Community Day will be held at Shapleigh Commons from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be something for every member of the family. Shapleigh Corner Restaurant will host a barbecue. Children will be able to play games. Wildlife Encounter will bring exotic animals. Also, Conjuring Carol, a magician for the young at heart, will give a presentation.

The 4-H Four Leaf Clover Club will serve freshly squeezed lemonade for the thirsty. Craft tables will be set up. Raffle tickets will be sold, and there will be a silent auction too.

Early on Saturday morning, there will be a Native American Music and Cultural Experience before the animal exhibit.

Also on Shapleigh Community Day, the fire department will showcase its new vehicle, and the Emergency Management Agency will display its trailer with all the aids to be used in case of an emergency.

The Acton-Shapleigh Lions and their famous popcorn machine will provide a tasty snack for all.

The Shapleigh Conservation Committee will set up its booth. Shapleigh commemorative coins, license plates, and brochures will be available. Also, the Shapleigh Community Library will hold a book sale.

The Shapleigh First Baptist Church will hold its clothing giveaway and will have a thrift sale to benefit the Needy Families Winter Oil Fund.

Generally, there are other businesses in the area that will be open and folks with yard sales and other events may also attract your attention.

Stony Road Septic has donated a portable toilet for the occasion. Emery Mills Energy also donated funds for the special day. Please take note of the area businesses, individuals and non-profits that support Community Day and help to make it special.


Condolences are expressed to the family of Elwyn Lowe, who passed away at age 88 on Saturday, July 10, at the Newton Center in Sanford.

Dozens of people gathered at the Highland Grove Cemetery in North Shapleigh on Tuesday, July 13, for the graveside service. Rev. Kenneth Keating presided. A gentle rain fell briefly as tears from heaven for this man who, with the exception of his time spent in the Army Air Corps during World War II, had spent his entire life in Shapleigh.

A self-employed carpenter, Elwyn worked for many people throughout the town. He was well-liked by everyone who came in contact with him.

Elwyn served the town for many years flagging the graves of known veterans until he was physically unable to do so. He provided the town with a map marked with the locations of the various cemeteries, some deep into the back woods, which was helpful to his successor, Ron Rivard.

Elwyn was a treasure trove of information about the Shapleigh of years gone by and will be sadly missed by many.


Transfer station employees Art Ingersoll and Michael Roy attended and completed the Core Training Session Number 2 (Reporting Requirements and Report Preparation), Elective Training Session 1 (Managing Recyclables) and Elective Training Session 3 (Safety) on May 20.

The sessions were sponsored by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management and the Division of Solid Waste Management.

The administrator of the program provided certificates to Ingersoll and Roy.


Librarian Gene Smith reported to selectmen a few statistics regarding Shapleigh Community Library in June 2010 versus June of 2009.

The library collected $23.60 in fines last month, compared to the $81 it collected in June of last year. The library also generated $4 in sales last month, which is lower than the $11 collected in June of 2009.

Also, the library welcome three new patrons in June 2010. Last year at this time, it welcomed six. In all the library had 393 patrons in June 2010, up from the 375 it had last year at this time.


The Shapleigh Transfer Station was unable to operate on Tuesday, July 13, because of a lack of power.

A lightning strike a day or so earlier is blamed for the fact that the electricity was not available. The compactor was unable to function until power was restored later in the day.

The town regrets any inconvenience that this outage may have caused to anyone wishing to use the facility.


Release of Debbie Peterson’s book “Shapleigh and Acton” will take place at the Acton-Shapleigh Historical Society at 122 Emery Mills Road on Route 109 on Saturday, July 24. Folks can purchase this volume and have it autographed from 9 to 11 a.m. At noontime, the book-signing will adjourn to the Shapleigh Commons, where the procedure will continue until 2 p.m.

“Incorporated in 1785, Shapleigh and Acton once comprised a single town covering approximately 32,000 acres,” according to the book’s description. “Due to the several large lakes at its center, the land was divided into east and west parishes. After much controversy and disagreement, the west parish was incorporated as the Town of Acton in 1830. With its abundant timber, fertile farmland, and extensive bodies of water, the area grew quickly and prospered. Today many local farmers work the same land and live in the same homes as their forefathers. Each summer, countless families throughout New England migrate to the numerous lakes that lie within the Shapleigh and Acton area, and motorists enjoy the area’s rolling hills, stone walls, picturesque mountains, and sparkling lake views. Nestled between the rocky Maine coastline and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Shapleigh and Acton are charming, historic towns that capture the spirit of Maine and ‘The Way Life Should Be’.”

Petersen is the president of the Acton-Shapleigh Historical Society. Her book is a compilation of images from the Society’s archives and the private collections of the towns’ residents to bring Shapleigh and Acton together once again between the covers of this book.

Peterson also will sign the book at the Acton Public Library on Saturday, July 31, from 9 to 11 a.m. and at the Acton Fair on Aug. 26 through 29.

Books also will be available for sale at local businesses.


Alissa Laitres, the owner of the One Earth Natural Food Store, offers many thanks to those of you who purchased raffle tickets last month. With the help of your donations, $79 was raised for Three Rivers Land Trust.

Marlene Parent, of Springvale, won the store’s raffled gift basket in June. She was asked to choose the recipient of the July raffle. This month’s recipient will be the Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes: Cure for Caroline, a resident of Back Road, Shapleigh.

More than 3 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, a disease that is often diagnosed in childhood that strikes suddenly, lasts a lifetime, and carries the constant threat of deadly complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation. JDRF’s mission is constant — to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Thanks to dramatic research progress, a cure is now within reach.

This month will mark the third anniversary since the Jacobs family of Shapleigh was changed when daughter Caroline was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. On July 20, 2007, Caroline was admitted to Maine Medical Center on the day before their family vacation to Cliff Island. Since that day, the family has had many ups and downs.

Thanks to JDRF, there have been huge strides made in improving the lives of people living with diabetes. Caroline benefits from one of the greatest advancements in treatment already. She has gone from having 7-plus insulin shots a day to having one insertion every three days by using an insulin pump.

Join the efforts to raise money for the 13th annual Walk to Cure Diabetes! If you’d like to learn more about joining the Cure for Caroline Team, visit online at


(This is a continuation of the “History of Shapleigh,” written by Rev. Amasa Loring in 1854, which is being printed here in honor of Shapleigh’s 225 years of incorporation.)

“In 1676 the heirs of Gorges conveyed their right to the colony of Massachusetts; reserving those tracts which had been deeded to certain individuals by the native Sagamores.

“The Provincial officers were disposed to respect the Indian titles, and the holders of them usually retained, undisturbed, the tracts thus conveyed. Therefore all scruples concerning a moral and equitable title to the soil of York County are removed: for it comes primarily from the natives, and has been sanctioned and confirmed by Provincial and State authority.

“So it was, with the title to the town of Shapleigh: which was obtained in the following manner: In 1661 Captain Sunda, an Indian Chief of the Ossipee tribe, deeded to Francis Small of Scarboro’, the Ossipee tract, embracing what are now called the “Ossipee towns,” to wit, Cornish, Parsonsfield, Newfield, Limerick and Limington, a record of which is on the County Registry.

“A tradition has come down which makes this conveyance characteristic of those adventurous times-It runs thus:

“Small, in the winter, was keeping a ‘trading house,’ upon this tract somewhere in the present town of Limington or Cornish. Many of the Indians became largely indebted to him, promising furs in the spring. Plotting upon an easier way to extinguish their debt, they conspired together to surround his house, on a certain night, and to reduce it, with its contents and occupant to ashes. This chief, being apprised of it, went and secretly informed Small, and besot him to make a timely escape.

“Small at first regarded this as a cunning contrivance to deprive him of his property; but for this, the Chief generously promised to remunerate him, by a conveyance of lands. But knowing something of savage vengeance, and reflecting that ‘discretion is the better part of valor,’ on the day previous to the night named for the attack, he left his house in its usual state, and retired to a neighboring hill, where he concealed himself, to see whether the Sachem’s account was a friendly warning or a wily trick.

“When the shades and silence of the night had come, the flames of that trading house lighted up the surrounding forest, and revealed a host of ferocious savages, carousing over the supposed destruction of its inmate.

“Small, of course, hastily and secretly left those regions and returned to Scarboro’.

“Captain Sunda, faithful to his promise, afterward met him at Saco, and gave him the above-mentioned deed to indemnify him for his loss.

“No one will endorse this story, but certain points in it are well authenticated. It is a well established fact that Francis Small kept a trading house at that time, in those regions, the claimants under him so stated in a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts.

“A Mr. Chadbourne of Berwick filed an affidavit, which is still preserved, stating that ‘when he was out on a scouting party, scouring those regions, in the Indian wars, another man observed to him, that they were near the place where Small’s trading house was, and on going a little further, they saw the spot where the house had stood, and drank water from a well there.’ It is also an established fact, that Major Nicholas Shapleigh of Kittery, was in company with Small in the trading house enterprise; and that Small deeded to him, an undivided half of all the lands conveyed by Sunda’s deed.

“A long period of Indian wars now commenced. Small, perhaps fearing that he should be an object of savage vengeance, went to Cape Cod and died there, but his family continued in Scarboro’.

“These wars suspended all new settlements, and carried desolation into many of the towns already settled. Hence deeds of these new sections, from any source, were for a long time, but a ‘dead letter.’

“At length these cruel and destructive wars were ended. The foe no longer lay in ambush by the path of the white man, nor drove him to the crowded block house. The settlements began to recover from their reduced state, and the tide of civilization, began to set back into the unbroken forest. Sanford, including Alfred, was surveyed in 1734, and the settlement commenced about six years later. This was at first called Phillipstown from the Phillips family, to whom it was deeded by the Indians.

“Lebanon was surveyed in 1733, and the permanent settlement of it commenced about ten years later. This retained its Indian name, Tow who, till its incorporation.

“Lyman began to be settled in 1764, and Waterboro soon after, called Massabesic, from the pond lying west of ‘Shaker Village,’ as it was pressing back the forest frontier, and claimants began to look up their titles.

In 1770, the original ‘Deed’ from Captain Sunda to Francis Small was found by his family among his papers, having lain unrecorded more than one hundred years. The heirs of Nicholas Shapleigh, it seems, well knew that they had an interest in the tract thus deeded. Honestly supposing that the ‘Shapleigh Township’ was included in the tract conveyed, they called a legal meeting of said heirs, at the Inn of William Leighton in Kittery, on the first Monday in March 1772, and took preliminary measures ‘to go up and possess the land.’

“After several adjournments and meetings, they appointed Joshua Hubbard and Dependent Shapleigh a Committee, to go and run out the tract.

“This committee, accompanied by James Warren, Surveyor, and Joseph Hasty and Gilbert Warren, Chainmen, went into the wilderness in May 1773, and run a line around it, which eventually became its original boundary. The Committee also cleared a small opening, enclosed it with a fence, and planted it with corn and potatoes, in presence of this survey company, as a formal act of possession.”


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