323-3462

tchmaine@gmail.com

Remember there is a public and special town meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 17, in the Mount View High School gymnasium. The articles to be voted on can be found in the Town Report, which itself can be picked up at the Freedom Town Office, or on the town Facebook page.

The gymnasium can safely hold 100 people, with relevant COVID protocols in place. Therefore, there will be plenty of room for social distancing given how, historically, only about 40 or 50 people attend the town meeting.

While my goal is to make this column my own, I don’t mind citing my grandmother here when she said, “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.” I can understand how one vote does not seem important in the grand scheme of say, a presidential race or gubernatorial race, but local elections are often decided by a few votes. I venture to say that a place like a town meeting is where your vote matters most.

Town officials also want to raise awareness of a scam concerning people’s COVID vaccination cards. Remember that those cards contain some of your personal information. Please be cautious with whom you share your card.

Speaking of COVID, The New York Times reports that 21% of all Waldo County residents have been fully vaccinated. This is only slightly worse than the state average of 23.8% of all residents fully vaccinated, but better than the 19% of the nation’s total population. Vaccinations are now open to all age groups in Maine — so please go get your shots!

Town history buffs might like to know that I had a pleasant conversation with Viola Greeley, town history-extraordinaire, longtime South Freedom resident, and, I now know, reader of this column. I asked her the history of the South Freedom School lot, which is a small, half-acre lot across the intersection of Beaver Ridge and Greeley roads.

Between my conversation with Viola and subsequent internet research, I learned that this lot was home to a one-room schoolhouse from the 1920s to the early 1950s, then a community center between the mid-1950s to 1969. In 1969 it became a private residence, but unfortunately burned down in 1975.

I also asked her about a research project that has become an obsession of mine: the history of the Beaver Hill Free Will Baptist Church, which I know from Google Book search records existed on Beaver Ridge (historically called Beaver Hill), from approximately the 1820s to the 1850s. I’ve become obsessed with it because I suspect that the church was located on what is now my land, or at the very least adjacent to my land.

The amateur historian in me loves researching this kind of stuff —- this past Monday I spent a couple of hours at the Registry of Deeds but hit a brick wall in my title search around 1921, and hit a dead end in a conversation with the American Baptist Churches of Maine.

I fear I will never know for sure what was up here (a common, unfortunate realization for those who try to sort out history). If anyone knows anything about this lost history of our town, please let me know. Besides for my own personal edification, I plan on collating my findings for preservation in the Freedom Community Historical Society archival records, whenever those get set up in Keen Hall.

Please get in touch with me if you have any leads that can help my research.