Windham Life and Times September 3, 2021

Happy Labor Day Weekend. Wide Ranging Sentiments on Work

John H. Dinsmore wheeling in the hay – Gate-keeper at Windham Depot – Stone masons laboring on Searles gate

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,

And prosper the work of our hands—

O prosper the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you; that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Thessalonians 3:10

Draupadi said: “The Devatās desire him who offers worship and works hard. They do not like him who loves to sleep and is lazy. The hard working person gets great praise from them.”

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.”

“One day our society will come to respect the sanitation worker if it is to survive, for the person who picks up our garbage, in the final analysis, is as significant as the physician, for if he doesn’t do his job, diseases are rampant.”
 Martin Luther King Jr.

“Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your professions is what you’re put on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.” Vincent Van Gogh

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much higher consideration.” Abraham Lincoln

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.”

“The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the world’s need of that work. With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get.” 

“Nations reel and stagger on their way; they make hideous mistakes; they commit frightful wrongs; they do great and beautiful things. And shall we not best guide humanity by telling the truth about all this, so far as the truth is ascertainable?” W.E.B. Du Bois

“The best way to find yourselves is to lose yourself in service to others.” Gandhi

“Originality and the feeling of one’s own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Work and family are at the center of our lives, the foundation of our dignity as a free people.” Ronald Reagan

“The basic goal of labor will not change. It is— as it has always been, and I am sure always will be — to better the standards of life for all who work for wages and to seek decency and justice and dignity for all Americans.” George Meany

My people are destroyed because they lack knowledge of me. Hosea 4:6

America in 2021 disdains labor, as our country is now totally controlled by the MIC, financial interests and the FED, the big investment banks, investment houses, multi-national corporations and supra-national organizations ushing in their green new deal and great reset. Mass illegal immigration further depresses wages. For God’s sakes, we make almost nothing useful…how is that a sign of national greatness? Republicans can be accused of being deaf to the needs of labor, but  the Democrats used to be the champions of labor, and now just provide weak lip service. If Taiwan is invaded by the communist Chinese we have no source of semi-conductors. Ford and G&M just announced they are shutting down assembly lines because of a lack of supply of chips. What would happen in a war, hot or cold. In case you’re not aware, World War II started because the United States attempted to cut of Japan’s access to raw materials. This is why they attacked Pearl Harbor…because the cold war had begun in the 1930’s. Without Lithium the Green New Deal is just a bad joke. Most all of the ingredients of pharmaceuticals are manufactured in China; does that not give you pause? How the heck could we ever fight a war without a manufacturing base? Why have our politicians (on both sides) left us defenseless against our enemies? Why do they hate us so? Why do they disdain small business, the working man-woman, farmers and soldiers? Because the politicians love themselves first, and the people and swindles that make them the biggest bribes and investment profits! Decent Americans…the working people be damned!

They couldn’t even bring themselves to honor the  soldiers fallen in Afghanistan in the US House of Representatives. There are reports that the identity of the terrorist bomber was known, his location was known, and there was a drone lock on him before he blew himself up killing and maiming the American marines. And why was the “Profile in Courage” Harris; “They’re not going to pin this sh__ on me,” posed in front of a statue of Ho Chi Min in Viet Nam, a humiliating juxtaposition, at the very moment the debacle in Afghanistan was taking place…” Optics that are just too awful and odd to be coincidence. And now Americans are being held hostage in Afghanistan; Biden and Harris are vacationing and campaigning, while Afghanis and their kidnapped child brides are being welcomed into our country. Could it really be any worse than this?

Windham Life and Times – August 27, 2021

Afghanistan; The Graveyard of Empires

The last stand of the 44th Foot, in the first British-Afghan War, during the Massacre of Elphinstone’s Army in 1842. Painted by William Barnes Wollen in 1898. A Soviet tank taken by the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

    So the withdrawal of U.S. troops and dependents from Afghanistan has been an unmitigated disaster. That rests at the feet of the Biden administration, however, we can thank the “brain trust” presidency of George W. Bush for putting U.S. troops into the “Graveyard of Empires” in the first place. After all Dick Cheney told him it was a great idea and Donald Rumsfeld, not satisfied to blow it once, as in Viet Nam, set us up for our current travails, and the enrichment of the Military Industrial Complex to the tune of trillions of dollars. Poor IKE must be rolling over in his grave, having warned us about this immoral cabal and what they were capable of doing for money and power.

     Of course, the fist empire that was destroyed in Afghanistan was the British. They fought three separate wars in the region, the last being in 1919. The First Anglo-Afghan War also known as the “Disaster in Afghanistan” was fought between the British Empire and the Emirate of Afghanistan. (Oh isn’t that now the new name given by the Taliban to Afghanistan?) “…the British successfully intervened in a succession dispute between emir Dost Mohammad (Barakzai) and former emir Shah Shujah (Durrani), whom they installed upon capturing Kabul in August 1839. The main British Indian force occupying Kabul along with their camp followers, having endured harsh winters as well, was almost completely annihilated during its 1842 retreat from Kabul. The British then sent an Army of Retribution to Kabul to avenge the destruction of their previous forces. After recovering prisoners, they withdrew from Afghanistan by the end of the year. Dost Mohammed returned from exile in India to resume his rule.” The occupation was abandoned in 1842: On 1 January 1842, following some unusual thinking by Major-General William George Keith Elphinstone, which may have had something to do with the poor defensibility of the cantonment, an agreement was reached that provided for the safe exodus of the British garrison and its dependents from Afghanistan. Five days later, the withdrawal began. The departing British contingent numbered around 16,500, of which about 4,500 were military personnel, and over 12,000 were camp followers. (sounds very familiar), Lieutenant Eyre commented about the camp followers that ‘These proved from the very first mile a serious clog on our movements’. Lady Sale brought with her 40 servants, none of whom she named in her diary while Lieutenant Eyre’s son was saved by a female Afghan servant, who rode through an ambush with the boy on her back, but he never gave her name. The American historian James Perry noted: “Reading the old diaries and journals, it is almost as if these twelve thousand native servants and sepoy wives and children didn’t exist individually. In a way, they really didn’t. They would die, all of them – shot, stabbed, frozen to death – in these mountain passes, and no one bothered to write down the name of even one of them”. The military force consisted mostly of Indian units and one British battalion, 44th Regiment of Foot. Dost Mohammad is reported to have said:

‘I have been struck by the magnitude of your resources, your ships, your arsenals, but what I cannot understand is why the rulers of so vast and flourishing an empire should have gone across the Indus to deprive me of my poor and barren country.’”

     In 1843 British army chaplain G.R. Gleig wrote a memoir of the disastrous (First) Anglo-Afghan War, of which he was not one of the few survivors as alleged by some authors such as Dalrymple, but in fact someone who interviewed the survivors and wrote his account as declared on the first page of his book which is described as an “Advertisement” but is in fact the preface. He wrote that ‘it was a war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disaster, without much glory attached either to the government which directed, or the great body of troops which waged it. Not one benefit, political or military, was acquired with this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated.’ ” This could be an accurate quote from 2021. And people have the gall to say that the liberal arts are dead; history is an important teacher and guide to those who would rule a nation.

    Later in the twentieth century, the Soviet War in Afghanistan lasted from 1979 through 1989. “They went in to shore up the newly established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways…Rebellion was swift and broad…Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Pakistan, China, and the United States. In the brutal nine year conflict, one million civilians were killed, as well as 90,000 Mujahedeen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops and 14,500 Soviet soldiers…” Many historians feel that the quagmire in Afghanistan was a major contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union. Within 30 years after of Third British Afghan War the British Empire was no more. One can only wonder, if this debacle is signaling to the rest of the world, if not to the sleeping and deceived citizens of the United States, the end of the American Empire. Its funny that President Biden recently made the statement that “insurrectionists would need a lot more than guns to take on the US government because it is equipped with a nuclear arsenal and war planes.’” Well the rag-tag, asymmetric fighters of the Taliban have elegantly proven him very wrong.”

Windham Life and Times – August 20, 2021

Fairview Rocks – Cobbett’s Pond North Shore

Late on Sunday afternoon I was gazing down the lake toward North Shore Road, and saw the massive boulders of Fairview Rocks, or the “Look-Out,” actually glowing, in the warm, fading light of the setting sun. The whole shoreline from North Shore to Rocky Ridge is littered with the monolithic remains of the glaciers, which haphazardly flung these standing stones in their place. This includes “Indian Rock” and the now gone Cobbett’s Rock. When the John H. Dinsmore owned this area, before he sold it to Edward Searles,  it was known as the “Rocky Pasture.” Will Harris owned the adjoining land where Fairview Rocks was located. I wonder if the Native Americans  called this hauntingly beautiful stretch of shoreline by name? Gogebic…”rocky shore,” short for agojebic.

Windham Life and Times – August 6, 2021

Barefoot & Free: Shoeless Summers and Healthy Grounding

Teddy Dooley with mom and brother at my grandfather’s tents. My barefooted Dad and me.

So I was talking over the weekend with Teddy Dooley, somebody who has enjoyed summers on Cobbett’s Pond longer than I have. Out of the blue, the remembrance of the summer sojourn of bare footedness, of our childhood was discussed. He mentioned there was always a bet among his friends about who would be forced to return to shoe footedness first.  You see, for us, the end of school meant the end of shoes! What state of being could be more glorious than having your feet freed from their leather or canvass prisons. Whenever, I am home in the summer, even now, my first act is to ditch the shoes. So as the end of August approaches…the dreaded foot manacles are waiting to return to the well shod feet of both children and adults. Maybe we should reconsider the intuitive sense of children, to live our lives free and for a few moments barefooted.

    Well, it seems that there is more to the story, and that bare footedness, may actually be a very healthy state in which to live. For all of you who are rolling your eyes, none other than the liberal bastion as the Washington Posts supports this very idea in an article published in 2018. Its called “grounding,” and apparently it has positive effects on heath and wellness.

     “I was intrigued when a colleague recently recommended a mutual patient — seeing her for stress management and me for nutritional advice — experiment with walking barefoot in the grass for a short time each day. A few weeks later, I stumbled across an article that gave a name to that practice — grounding. The idea behind grounding, also called earthing, is humans evolved in direct contact with the Earth’s subtle electric charge, but have lost that sustained connection thanks to inventions such as buildings, furniture and shoes with insulated synthetic soles.”

     “Advocates of grounding say this disconnect might be contributing to the chronic diseases that are particularly prevalent in industrialized societies. There is actually some science behind this. Research has shown barefoot contact with the earth can produce nearly instant changes in a variety of physiological measures, helping improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension and lower stress.”

    “There are many reasons connecting with nature is good for mind and body, but electricity probably is not one you have considered. If you think back to the last time you took a science class, you may remember that everything, including humans, is made up of atoms. These microscopic particles contain equal numbers of negatively charged electrons, which come in pairs, and positively charged protons, so an atom is neutral — unless it loses an electron. When an atom has an unpaired electron, it becomes a “free radical” with a positive charge, capable of damaging our cells and contributing to chronic inflammation, cancer and other diseases. In this case, ‘positive’ is not a good thing. One reason direct physical contact with the ground might have beneficial physiological effects is the earth’s surface has a negative charge and is constantly generating electrons that could neutralize free radicals, acting as antioxidants. You may think of antioxidants as coming from food, and indeed a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and other foods that provide beta-carotene, selenium, lutein, lycopene and vitamins A, C and E helps prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Still, it is interesting that we may be able to get them directly from the earth, too. Research also suggests physical contact with the Earth’s surface can help regulate our autonomic nervous system and keep our circadian rhythms — which regulate body temperature, hormone secretion, digestion and blood pressure, among other things — synchronized with the day/night cycle. Desynchronization of our internal clocks has been linked to a number of health problems, as evidenced by research on shift workers. The key may be the impact on the vagus nerve. This is the largest nerve of the autonomic nervous system — extending from the brain to the colon — and plays a key role in heart, lung and digestive function. Strong vagal tone helps you relax faster after experiencing stress, while weak vagal tone is associated with chronic inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, is associated with a number of chronic diseases — including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Vagal tone is often assessed by measuring the variation in your heart rate when you breathe in and out, and in one study, grounding was shown to improve heart rate variability and thus vagal tone in preterm infants. In another small study of adults, one two-hour session of grounding reduced inflammation and improved blood flow.”

     According to the blog, “The body is composed primarily of water and minerals, making it a great conductor of electricity. When we come into direct contact with the earth—our soles pressed into the soil, bodies pressed against the grass, fingers weaving through particles of sand—the free electrons on the earth’s surface are absorbed into the body. This energy travels through your energy field and chakras, balancing the body. The bottoms of the feet have long been considered maps of the rest of the body, so by grounding through the feet, we are simultaneously allowing currents of rejuvenating charges to power our vital organs and synchronize the systems of the body. Electrons are also likened to antioxidants in their ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate red blood cell circulation. Your body produces and uses electrical energy all the time, but when it receives extra electrons from an outside source (like the earth!), it is able to cleanse, repair, and return to its optimal state more efficiently.”

Want more information?

Windham Life and Times – July 29, 2021

Scenes from My Garden

So no history secrets…I ran out of time for the week. Instead, here is an interlude, in my favorite place on earth: My Garden! The Stewartia tree bosomed for over 4 weeks straight…non-stop.  I had given her a long,  loving talk this spring about how I longed for her to make a show of herself. Last year there was hardly a blossom; this year their was lush abundance of her beautiful white flowers, which dropped and floated across the water, like lotus blossoms in an Asian landscape. You do all know plants are sentient beings, right?  I saw recently that Lake Street Garden had two of these beautiful trees for sale. You won’t be disappointed. 

The Stewartia Treee

So… I have this birdbath that I really love, the only problem being the cement is disintegrating. So I thought about deep sixing it, and then I had second thoughts. Instead, this ruin is now one of my favorite places in the garden. There is now a beautiful variety of mosses, and small flowering plants happily growing on the shores of the water. It looks a little bit like a grand old dowager, slowing crumbling, but holding onto to her fading glory with a little bit of flash and bling.

Many evenings the bald eagle flies down the center of the lake, majestic…and I wonder if he or she remembers the game we played with the frozen pickerel over my head last winter. We live in an incredibly beautiful place, if only we can escape the prison wall of screens, so that we can rediscover it again. Away from the hysteria and hype, meant to coral us for the slaughter…meant to make us do their bidding. The bees are everywhere…and the hummingbirds are drinking from the blossoms that have opened to provide their nectar and in the act of freely giving, being pollinated for next year in turn. Away from the screens, the world moves on, with or without our attention, gratitude and adoration. She is silently waiting as a gift unopened: for the screens to darken, for our eyes to see, and for all of us to awaken… so we can really understand her secrets and feel the love of that One which upholds it all.

Windham Life and Times – July 23, 2021

Wreck of the Lancaster 4-4-0 in Windham -2-

Worcester, Nashua & Rochester Line

After publishing the first photograph of this crash, Jon Carpenter and I were wondering how they got that locomotive back on the tracks. I keep looking for landmarks trying to determine where exactly the crash took place in Windham.  Interesting, how workers back in the day, wore a full suit of clothes while doing manual labor.

Windham Life and Times July 16, 2021

Margaret Smith Simpson’s grave next to her husband John Simpson, who were both Revolutionary War soldiers. The John Simpson cellar hole on Marblehead Road in Windham,

Windham’s Female Revolutionary War Solider

Margaret Smith Simpson

    I had previously written about Deborah Sampson, a woman who fought as a man in the Revolutionary War. It seemed she was a unique case, but apparently that is not so, as the story of Margaret Smith Simpson will illustrate. There are also stories of many other women who fought. In fact, once you dig deeply into who fought in the Revolutionary War, away from the conventional retelling, the omission of certain of the participants is just amazing. And this leads to the cancel culture of today, who see the War of Independence as only a white man’s enterprise; nothing could be further from the truth and this huge misunderstanding of history has been brought about by a lack of intellectual curiosity. The fact is, if you had been on the battlefields, and looked down the lines of soldiers fighting in the War of Independence, you would have seen the thousands of black faces of the brave African American men that served. Also, Native Americans, and even as we shall see the faces of patriot woman. The service of Margaret Smith Simpson, is a story that should be told to your daughters and the story of Black Revolutionary War soldiers should also be told. If you cancel this American history, you cancel their stories.

    At one time in Windham, there was a couple, living on what is now Marblehead Road, and both husband and wife were veterans soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Let that sink in a moment. They both had been continental soldiers.

     Margaret Smith was the daughter of Francis Smith, who settled “in that part of  Salem that was once Windham.” When the dispute arose of over the meeting-house many families with kith and kin in Windham were trapped in Salem. In fact, over the years, many of these families petitioned to be returned to Windham. The reason why this is important to our story is because of the petition of 1777, which was voted down by the residents of Salem. It says; “to see if the town of Salem…will allow certain men with their respective families to be annexed to the town of Windham…They had enlisted and fought with the regiment of continental troops from Windham, still they were taxed in Salem. They then drew up a petition to the State of New Hampshire which stated in part, “We have always associated with and been connected to them as brothers, but have never associated with the inhabitants of Salem…” I use these facts in order to rest my case; Margaret Smith Simpson should be considered Windham’s female Revolutionary War hero, not Salem’s. The border line between Salem and Windham was not finally settled until after the commission of 1807 which determined the line. Margaret Smith along with many other Scots-Irish family members were part of the expedition to Canada in 1775-6. Obviously the people she fought with her knew she was a woman, and she fought as a woman, not disguised as a man. This distinguishes her from other woman patriots.

     The invasion of Canada was a perilous affair. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia; “In September 1775 rebel General Richard Montgomery led American forces on the first major offensive of the war, seizing the forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point in northern New York, and Fort Chambly in Québec. With 1,700 militia troops, Montgomery then captured Fort Saint-Jean outside Montréal in November – prompting Carleton to abandon Montréal and flee to Québec. The Americans occupied Montréal without a fight on 28 November.”     

    “Meanwhile, a second American invasion force led by General Benedict

Arnold managed, despite hardships, faulty maps, near starvation and desertions, to bring about 700 men through the Maine wilderness to the St. Lawrence River and to the fortress of Québec. Arnold waited outside Québec until December, when Montgomery joined him with 300 additional men”

     “During a snowstorm on 31 December, the Americans assaulted Québec, which was defended by a garrison of 1,800 British soldiers and militiamen under Carleton. The Americans attacked from two directions. Arnold and his men penetrated some distance into Lower Town, but Arnold himself was wounded in the ankle and carried away from the fighting. His forces later surrendered under counterattack.

Montgomery’s force was repulsed after the general and his leading officers were killed by rifle fire in their initial assault on the other side of Lower Town. In total, 60 Americans were killed and 426 wounded at Québec. On the British side six were killed and 19 wounded.”

     “Under Arnold’s command, the remaining uncaptured Americans tried to maintain a siege of the town through the winter, but it was ineffective. The group was easily routed when the spring thaw brought 4,000 British troop reinforcements led by British General John Burgoyne. The Americans abandoned Montréal on 9 May, 1776 and the remains of the force was defeated at Trois Rivieres in June. The survivors then retreated to New York, ending their invasion.”

     Margaret Smith was the daughter of Francis Smith who purchased his farm in Windham in 1755. He married Margaret Smiley of Windham. John Simpson, was a Revolutionary War solider who had two fingers shot away by cannonball at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Morrison says, he was a well to do farmer and one of the wealthiest men in the southerly part of town.” Margaret Smith was Simpson’s second wife who died on October 22, 1809 at 49 years of age. This would have made her about 17 years old at the time she joined the army to fight in the American Revolution. She was in the same company as her brother Solomon. The Simpson cellar hole on Marblehead Road is marked. I think we need a new American flag to mark her grave in the Cemetery on the Hill, where she is buried next to he husband