In 1946, Fred and Geneva Fairneny purchased a five-acre parcel of land, with buildings, located on Route 28 in Windham. It was at this location that the Fairnenys opened Fairneny's Barbecue, which served "food for many years to the traveler as well as local people." The building which housed the restaurant is depicted on the back cover of an advertising matchbook (shown above on the left). Another vintage matchbook advertises the "curbside service" offered at the "Bar-B-Q" restaurant, which featured a menu including "Syrian Salad" and "Lamb-On-The-Stick." In 1956, following the passing of Fred, the widowed Geneva sold the property.
"The Moderator of the Presbytery of Boston has, by request, called a special meeting of the Presbytery to be held at the church in this town on Wednesday the 21st instant, commencing at 10 A.M. The object is to consider the application of Rev. Joseph S. Cogswell to be admitted as a member of the Presbytery, and, if it shall be found expedient, to proceed to install him as pastor of the church here. The installation exercises will take place on Wednesaday afternoon, and Rev. C. E. Harrington, past of the South Congregational church in Concord will preach the sermon. Music will be furnished by the church choir."
"Dea. William Park of South Boston, who died Nov. 9th, aged 76 years and 9 months, was a native of this town and a brother of the late Dea. Joseph Park."
"The Congregational church here on a recent Sunday morning numbered 109 and the Sabbath-school immediately following contained 98, or nine-tenths of the whole."
"The school district in No. 6 is taught this winter by Miss Emma Anderson of Acworth."
"Shaffer's Swiss Bell-ringers played in the town hall on the evening of Dec. 5th. A good audience attended and were all pleased with the entertainment."
"The Philharmonic Union met for practice Thursday afternoon and evening of last week, at the town hall in this place."
"The Sunday school has been voted to use, the coming year, Peloubet's series of question books, same kind that is used this year."
The news for Windham was reported in the Derry News by William Samuel Harris.
On November 26, 1835, 214 years after the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Reverend Calvin Cutler delivered a Thanksgiving Day sermon entitled "Our Liberties in Danger" to the congregation at Windham's Presbyterian Church. Cutler began his sermon with an inquiry "into the meaning of liberty; and secondly to show by what means liberty is infringed and destroyed." He defines liberty as: "To do what we will, - to follow our own inclinations, irrespective of the will or inclinations of other men, is natural liberty. To do what we will consistently with the interests of the community to which we belong, is civil liberty. To follow the dictates of conscience and the light of revelation, as we understand our duty, in the worship of God, whether it be right or wrong, is religious liberty." The sermon then continued by expounding on the "evils growing out of the unrestrained indulgence of individual natural liberty." While "[e]very man no doubt would wish to be allowed to act in all respects, and in all circumstances, just as he pleased. But every other man wishes to do the same; and it is soon found that individual natural liberty cannot be enjoyed, because the inclinations of different men interfere with each other."
Reverend Cutler defined several evils that endanger the liberty of the people. One being the "breaking down [of] the institution of marriage"; "when our cities are crowded almost with adulterers and effeminates, when a whole steam-boat can be loaded down at once with lewd women, to be transported from one section of country to another, followed by as many abandoned men; and, above all, when the nation uphold and defend a system of oppression by which more than two millions of the population are subjected to a state of adultery and concubinage [slaves could be legally married], are not our liberties in danger?" Another evil was "the existence of Slavery, by which one sixth of the nation are treated as nonentities - denied the privilege of reading the Bible - men turned into brutes - human souls made chattels, to be bought and sold, and used for the gratification of irresponsible masters; who, contrary to our Bill of Rights and the first principles of our free government, have seized and bound their fellow men in cruel bondage." Cutler, an ardent abolitionist, dedicated nearly a third of his sermon to describing the evils of slavery.
The Thanksgiving Day sermon concluded with three important points. Firstly, "[t]hat we have infinite reason for gratitude that the Lord reigns, and that he will overrule all events for the glory of his kingdom." Secondly, "[t]he gospel will prevail to restore to all men their inalienable rights, and to protect them in the enjoyment of liberty." Lastly, "We will bless God for his infinite mercy and forbearance towards this nation." The sermon concluded with: "Let the wicked rage and the people imagine a vain thing, but we will rejoice in the Lord, we will praise him for his long suffering and patience towards this our beloved country. 'Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to sing praises unto our God, for it is pleasant, and praise is comely.'"
Cutler's sermon was well received by the townspeople, so much so that the manuscript was sent to Concord to be printed that same year. David Campbell, Jeremiah Morrison, and Stephen Fessenden wrote to Reverend Cutler in order to ask him to make the sermon available for publication. In their letter they noted "there was so much satisfaction manifested with your Sermon this day delivered, and it was thought so appropriate in the present crisis of our public affairs, that before leaving the house the undersigned [Campbell, Morrison, and Fessenden] were appointed a committee to request a copy for publication, with as little variation as you shall deem it expedient to make." Reverend Cutler replied that the "request was not in the least anticipated. I have no apology for the defects of the Sermon, except that it was prepared in a feeble state of health, in the ordinary course of ministerial labour; and your desire that it should appear with 'little variation' or correction. If in your opinion it is in the least adapted to preserve our free institutions from the encroachments of anarchy and licentiousness, it is at your disposal."
THANKSGIVING DAY IN WINDHAM
When corn is in the garret stored,
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.