Windham Life and Times – January 16, 2018

Avoiding the Civil War Draft


I grew up with the blood and guts of the Vietnam War playing in full color on our television during dinner time. Walter Cronkite solemnly intoning the body count: 10,132 North Vietnamese dead or wounded, 207 ARVN troops dead or wounded and 3 American dead or wounded. Of course, I exaggerate, but not by much. With numbers like these how could we possibly lose, but lose we did. This was my childhood Civil War, it was just fought half-way around the world, to make it safe for democracy.

The draft and draft dodging were a huge topic during the Vietnam War. Many young Americans burned their draft cards and went to Canada to avoid going to Southeast Asia. On a family vacation, to Ausable Chasm, I remember seeing  burned draft cards in the rocks. Of course, during Vietnam, the rich man’s sons procured college deferments, which kept them out of the fighting, until the end of the war. When these provisions changed, the war ended pretty quickly. I still remember my brother getting his number in the mail, and it was low and caused a lot of foreboding, because he was going, except for the luck of the war coming to an end.

Well it seems that draft dodging was a part of the Civil War, more than 100 years before Vietnam. Again, it was the son’s of the rich who could afford the loop-hole of buying a substitute. I came upon this subject when reading Morrison’s History of Windham. “In 1863, the quota of the towns not being filled as promptly as was desired, a draft was made; and at a meeting of the town, Sept. 5, 1863, it was voted ‘to pay a bounty to all of its citizens who are, or who may be drafted into the services of the United States, or who procure substitutes under the calls of the President to put down the rebellion,’ the sum of ‘two hundred and seventy-five dollars to each citizen so drafted, or who procures a substitute.’ The money was to be paid after the soldier was mustered into the service. The selectman were chosen as a committee to carry the vote into effect and to hire (borrow) money at a vote ‘not exceeding six percent,” to pay said men. Nine men were drafted, and seven of them sent substitutes.”

This seems, really incredible to me, of the nine men drafted in Windham in 1863, only two actually joined the troops to fight in the war.

The website,, explains the civil war draft and substitution nicely, in an article entitled, “Hired soldier, Substitutes During the Civil War.”

“When the Civil War began, there was no shortage of able bodied men who volunteered for service in both the U.S. Army and the Confederate Army. Eager to show their patriotism, convinced that their cause would be victorious in a matter of months at the most, men gathered in cities and towns throughout America to form volunteer regiments, clamoring to assist in the war effort.”

“However, by late 1862 and early 1863, the patriotic fervor that had characterized the war effort early on was wearing thin in both the Confederacy and the United States, and finding men to replenish the armies of both nations was becoming difficult. Those who wanted to serve were already engaged; those who did not had either refused to serve, or, having volunteered and found the experience to be much more arduous than it seemed at first, had deserted or refused to re-enlist. This necessitated instituting a draft to choose men for service, and, in both the North and the South, the practice of hiring substitutes to serve in the place of those who were called and did not want to serve.”

“Long before the United States began the draft process, the Confederate Congress had allowed men to forgo service in the Confederate Army if they met certain occupational criteria – criteria that mostly exempted owners of large plantations or other enterprises, leading to the phrase “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” to describe the Confederate war effort. Southern men who did not meet exemption criteria but whom were otherwise able to fight often hired substitutes to serve for them. Yet by 1863, exemptions were outlawed in the Confederacy, where men willing to fight were becoming too scarce to exempt from service. This practice was just beginning, however, as it traveled north.”

“When the draft laws – known as the Enrollment Act – were first placed on the books in the United States in 1863, they allowed for two methods for avoiding the draft – substitution or commutation. A man who found his name called in the draft lotteries that chose men for mandatory service could either pay a commutation fee of $300, which exempted him from service during this draft lottery, but not necessarily for future draft lotteries, or he could provide a substitute, which would exempt him from service throughout the duration of the war.”

“With the Enrollment Act, the Civil War truly began to be known as a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight throughout the entire nation. The $300 commutation fee was an enormous sum of money for most city laborers or rural farmers, and the cost of hiring a substitute was even higher, often reaching $1000 or more.

In small towns where the potential loss of their entire population of able-bodied men became an imminent possibility, taxes and other means were raised in order to pay commutation fees, and, as commutation was outlawed, substitutes. These “bounties,” as the fees were called, would pay substitutes in lieu of townsmen.”

“The practice of hiring substitutes for military service took hold quickly in the North, becoming much more widespread than it had ever been in the South. For one thing, there was a much larger pool of men to draw from; immigrants that flowed into the ports of the North, even in a time of war, provided a large number of the substitutes hired by those who did not wish to serve. As the duration of the war lengthened, African-American soldiers, who’d thus far been only nominally accepted by the U.S. Army as viable soldiers, also became part of the pool of potential substitutes; many of the recruitment posters from the time explicitly solicit African-Americans for substitution.”

“Although the hiring of substitutes seems mercenary, and in many cases, resulted in the desertion of the substitute, many who went to war as hired men went because they were unable to enlist through the regular channels. This included the recent immigrants who were anxious to fight for their new country, and, importantly, the African-Americans who found going to war as substitutes the only way to fight for their freedom. For these men, the war was indeed a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight,” but from the perspective that poor men were more willing to fight for the possibilities they saw in their country.”


Windham Life and Time – January 26, 2018

Edward Searles and Angelo


“By this time Angy was twenty-three years old and had matured since Searles first met him. He decided to return to his homeland to straighten out family affairs over there. Accordingly, on November 5, 1919, Searles sent him off to Smyrna, Asia Minor. Before the ship sailed Angy wrote the following letter:”

November 5, 1919

“On board S.S. Canada

My dear loving Daddy,

In an hour or as the boat is sailing and by tomorrow I will be far away on the sea. But no matter in what part of the globe I am found I will always love you and remember you. You have been too good to me, more than I deserved, but dear Daddy be sure that your boy always loved you and will love you with all his heart. I can not give you anything or repay you with anything but my love which is pure and which is true for you.

God bless you and give you health and happiness forever.

I wish that I had not gone away from you but I am sure that my homecoming to you will be speedier than you think.

Take good care of yourself. Wishing you happiness and hoping to see you soon.

Your Boy,


“Pine Lodge

My dear Ange,

Your  letter of December 11th was received yesterday and I was very glad to know you of your safe arrival to your old home, and that you are making progress at getting your family affairs into better shape. I hope you will be able to make such arrangements for them that you will feel that you can leave them to take care of themselves without much anxiety on your part. I am looking forward anxiously, for the time when you will return, and the old Murray Hill apartment is very lonesome without you.

Hoping this letter will find you well and happy. I am, as ever,

Faithfully yours,

Your Loving Daddy,


“In the next month of February Searles, as usual, went to New York to live at the Murray Hill Hotel for a while. Towards the end of the month he began to suffer from the prostrate gland trouble and on March 2, 1920, it was necessary for him to go to a hospital in New York. Since Angy was still in Greece, and Searles was all alone in the New York hospital, he sent for Walter Glidden, a young caretake at the Pine Lodge Estate. After Searles went under an operation by Dr. McCarthy, a New York urologist. Angy returned from his trip on April 3rd to find his friend convalescing at the Murray Hill Hotel. It was his first knowledge that Searles had been ill. Walter Glidden continued to care for Searles while Angy began his studies at a New York preparatory school. Searles continued his hospital treatments until April 20th. In May he and Glidden returned to Methuen and later that same month, Angy received the following letter:”

“Pine Lodge                   Methuen, Mass. May 17, 1920

My dear Ange,

Your letter was received yesterday, and you are not forgotten. The reason I have not written to you is that I have been very sick and am still in bed under the doctor’s care.

I am glad to hear you are employing your time so well in your studies.

With love from Dad”

“Pine Lodge                  Methuen, Mass. June 18, 1920

My dear Ange,

I am still in bed under the doctor’s care but think that I am gaining slowly. As soon as I am able I will let you know when I can see you.

Mr. Walker says that the Troy Polytechnical School for Electrical Engineering is the best place for you, and you approve of it, and I advise you to take the preparatory course in New York this summer, and Mr. Walker will make all the arrangements for you.

Hoping you are well and happy and will keep so I am ever,

Faithfully yours,

From Dad

P.S.– Let me hear from you as often as you can.

“That was the last letter that Angy ever received from Searles although he didn’t realize it, he would never see him again. Arthur Walker, Searles trusted business secretary, arranged for Angy to go on vacation during that summer’s school recess. Was Walker aware that if he could make it appear to Searles that Angy was neglecting him in his illness, the old gentleman would be sufficiently hurt as to be willing to think the youth as merely a fickle boy, rather than a close companion that he actually was? The result was, perhaps, that Searles, resigned to loneliness, ill, and without Angy’s company, signed the will of July 24th, 1920, leaving the bulk of his fortune to Walker. Never-the-less, it is certain that Searles proved, by his kind affection for this young man,  to be something more than a stuffy old Victorian full of hypocrisy and prejudices. He was human after all. His hard, high stone walls then were not symbolic of his true emotional character.”

“As his strength slowly left him, Searles rarely left his bed, and when he did, he was carried downstairs by the human-chair method, only to sit in a wheelchair. Thus he spent his last six weeks. Doctor Henry F. Dearborn, of Lawrence, who attended him during this time, recalls that his disposition was normal for one as ill as he was…He was in the doctor’s own words, ‘easy to handle.’” He died on August 6, 1920

Quotes from: The Life Story of Edward F. Searles, By Ray Fremmer



Windham Life and Times – June 11, 2017

Eastern Illustrating Company


According to, At the Edge of Megalopolis, Shadow Lake was a “fair sheet of water hidden among the hills,” when surveyor Theophilus Satchwell discovered it in the 1600’s. It was known as Satchwell Pond while the area was claimed by Haverhill. The lake aquired its native American name of Hitty-Titty Pond when Salem became a town. Douglas Weed in his Images of America Salem says that the name was changed to Shadow Lake in 1913. I am guessing that the change had something to do with the “Shadowland” recreation area which was developed on its shore. Shadow Lake lent itself to better marketing for cottages and a lake resort than did Hitty-Titty, primordial name or not. Shadowland included a store, a beautiful beach and a large dance-hall which hung out over the water on piers. People have been asking me for more history of Shadow Lake and I was so happy to find these beautiful photographs of the pond. Shadow Lake, like Canobie Lake is shared, as is their history, with our good neighbors in Salem.


Windham Life and Times – April 13, 2017

Eastern Illustrating Company

Clif’s Place, Windham NH Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum


Clif’s Place is a store and gas station that sprang up on Route 28 to serve the growing number of “auto tourists.” In another photograph of this location, Charles A. Dow Sr. was the proprietor and he offered camping grounds for auto tourists, overlooking Seavey Pond. This building is now a church. Courtesy of Penobscot Marine Museum.

Another photograph of the same spot by a different postcard publisher.

Windham Life and Time – March 9, 2017

100 Years Ago In Windham

The Upham Cottage on Left. North Shore Road, Cobbett’s Pond

Benjamin N. Upham Drops Dead

“WINDHAM, March 13, 1917— Benjamin N. Upham, of Dorchester, Mass., who has a summer cottage on Cobbett’s Pond, in which he took great interest, dropped dead on the street near his home in the storm of Monday evening, the 5th. He had long been connected with the Youth’s Companion, having charge of the premium department. Which, was quite a specialty with this popular paper. For some years, Mr. Upham was a deacon in the Ruggles Street Baptist Church  in Boston. He was a man whom it was good to know.” W.S. Harris 

Francis and Edward Bellamy

Benjamin Upham’s brother James, had a large role in the creation of the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Many patriots today, might be interested to know that, “The Pledge,” was written in 1892, by Francis Bellamy, a former Baptist minister, and an employee at the Youth’s Companion. (There has been a long running historical debate about who actually wrote “The Pledge,” with Upham’s family providing evidence that he actually did. However, today the authorship of the pledge is generally ascribed to Bellamy.) Both Bellamy and Upham were  “Christian Socialists.” Before joining the Youth’s Companion, Francis “was forced out of his Boston church for his socialist sermons, including topics like ‘Jesus the Socialist’ and a series of sermons on ‘The Socialism of the Primitive Church.’ ” Edward Bellamy, was Francis Bellamy’s cousin and also a socialist, who wrote Looking Backward, a utopian novel set in the far distant year 2000. “Bellamy’s vision sees the social ills of society cured by making America into a regimented worker’s paradise where everyone has equal incomes, and men are drafted into the country’s industrial army at the age of 21, serving jobs assigned by the state. Bellamy used the term “Nationalism” rather than “Socialism” as the descriptor of his governmental vision. He made this calculated move, to prevent a negative impact on sales of his novel and to better influence political ideas. Bellamy’s book inspired a political movement of “Nationalists Clubs,” and Francis Bellamy, author of “The Pledge,” was a founding member in Boston.      “The Pledge” would have been seen as an anathema to the founders of America, who felt that all of the rights of the government, only had legitimacy when they flowed from the rights of the individual, not the other way around.

    So where does James Upham fit in the picture? It was his job to generate revenue through the sale of premiums at the Youth’s Companion. According to Wikipedia, “In 1891, Daniel Sharp Ford, the owner of the Youth’s Companion, hired Bellamy to work with Ford’s nephew James B. Upham in the magazine’s premium department. In 1888, the Youth’s Companion had begun a campaign to sell American flags to public schools as a premium to solicit subscriptions. For Upham and Bellamy, the flag promotion was more than merely a business move; under their influence, the Youth’s Companion became a fervent supporter of the schoolhouse flag movement, which aimed to place a flag above every school in the nation. Four years later, by 1892, the magazine had sold American flags to approximately 26,000 schools. By this time the market was slowing for flags, but was not yet saturated.  In 1892, Upham had the idea of using the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus reaching the Americas to further bolster the schoolhouse flag movement.

The magazine called for a national Columbian Public School Celebration to coincide with the World’s Columbian Exposition. A flag salute was a part of the official program for the Columbus Day celebration to be held in schools all over America.”

The Pledge was published in the September 8, 1892, issue of the magazine, and immediately put to use in the campaign. Bellamy went to speak to a national meeting of school superintendents to promote the celebration; the convention liked the idea and selected a committee of leading educators to implement the program, including the immediate past president of the National Education Association. Bellamy was selected as the chair. Having received the official blessing of educators, Bellamy’s committee now had the task of spreading the word across the nation and of designing an official program for schools to follow on the day of national celebration. He structured the program around a flag-raising ceremony and his pledge.”

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Students saying the “pledge” with the “Bellamy salute,” which looks very similar to the NAZI salute.

“For years the Pledge was accompanied with the “Bellamy salute,” a gesture invented by The Youth Companion’s marketing man, James B. Upham. In Bellamy’s own recollection, upon reading the pledge for the first time, Upham had snapped his heels together, raised his arm at half mast, and enthusiastically roared his support.” Of course, with the similarity to the NAZI salute, American politicians opted to change the salute to the more politically correct, hand over the heart, in 1942.

Benjamin Upham’s cottage was located on the North Shore on land leased from William Harris.  James Upham died in 1905, but his children visited the cottage. Both James Upham and Benjamin Upham worked in the premium department of the “Youth’s Companion.”

Windham Life & Times – February 24, 2017

100 Year Ago in Windham | W.S. Harris | Exeter Newsletter

A tall stone wall divides a field on Dinsmoor Hill, Windham with Canobie lake in background.

A tall stone wall divides a field on Dinsmoor Hill, Windham with Canobie Lake in background.


“WINDHAM, February 27.— Among the books lately added to the town library is ‘North of Boston’ by Robert Frost, who was known to some in town when he lived in Derry and was a teacher at Pinkerton Academy. These writings have a certain picturesque flavor and a crude rhythm, but probably we are too far from Boston culture to understand what is gained by stretching the definition of poetry sufficiently to cover writings like these.” I looked through “North of Boston” to find a poem, and I must agree with Will Harris that much of it is a little boring and idyllic, but in “Mending Walls” there is perhaps something worthwhile to be found. It is especially relevant in showing what has been lost over the past 100 years, where now it seems that for many Americans, that walls of all kinds should be torn down. The poem shows the wisdom of borders and separation, and how the division line actually brings those that are separated by it closer together, because of the security of knowing the rules of the divide and because on each side of the wall, one has the freedom to privately live life as one wishes, without being subjected to the meddling of others. It seems, “the poet,” Robert Frost advocates for their destruction. Have his ideals won?

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:

I have come after them and made repair

Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,

No one has seen them made or heard them made,

But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.

We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

We have to use a spell to make them balance:

‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned

!’We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,

One on a side.  It comes to little more:There where it is we do not need the wall:

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.

‘Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn’t it

Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That wants it down.’  I could say ‘Elves’ to him,

But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather

He said it for himself.  I see him there

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father’s saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’