March 29, 2024

Raymond descendants connect after 104 years

By Kendra Raymond

In today’s world, social media is frequently portrayed as the villain, commanding excessive amounts of people’s time and attention. But what about that golden moment when it is used for something valuable, informational, or best of all, to foster human connection?

Dr. William C. Kendall and George Moses
are shown together on Raymond Cape in
1920. They are the great-grandfathers of
current Raymond neighbors and this was
discovered through a social media group.
Town or neighborhood social media groups can come in handy for sharing resources such as electricians or pet sitters, area news, or where to buy fresh chicken eggs. It can be a great opportunity to join with neighbors.

Members of a Raymond social media group recently began posting local photos of yesteryear. It started with pictures from a notable farm, steamships of Sebago, and even developed into memoirs written by ancestors.

I decided that I should join in the excitement and dig out some treasured pictures from our family archives. Thumbing through the partially labeled profusion of memorabilia, there it was – a photo of my great-grandfather, arm in arm, with an ancestor of my neighbors, a connection only realized from a social media comment. Little did I know, this photo would connect me with some new friends, solve gaps in our family histories, and establish a platform for future collaborations.

My great-grandfather, fisheries biologist Dr. William Converse Kendall, worked for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in Washington D.C. He came to Raymond during the summers of 1906 and 1907 to take soundings of Sebago Lake. These measurements formed the basis of present-day maps. For the next several years, he was assigned to study and collect data on landlocked salmon in Sebago.

The research operation took place at the end of Raymond Cape based at a rustic encampment they called “Camp Negaunee.” Photographic documentation shows W.C. Kendall at the camp and on the lake with George Moses – the great-grandfather of my neighbors Karen Banks and Kelly Rocheleau. Evidently the two men were great friends and worked together on the water.

Negaunee is an Ojibwe word meaning “foremost or leading,” closely translated to “pioneer.” The Ojibwe are indigenous peoples of the Northeastern woodlands and one of the largest populations in the U.S.

I guess you could say that the Negaunee participants in those summers certainly qualified as pioneers.

“According to my mother, George Moses had the first camp on the end of Raymond Cape,” Banks said. “Probably near Wawenock. Someone recently said Wawenock bought the Moses camp or John Colby Shaw’s camp or both. My mother also said that George Moses had the first steamboat on Sebago. He was a guide, hunter, trapper, builder, sailor, taxidermist, and jack of all trades.”

Notes from Elroy LaCase Jr. said that “Dr. Kendall was so taken with the location that he persuaded a couple of his friends to join him to start in 1910 what would now be termed an “ecology camp.” Thus began “Medawisla Club for Boys” along the shores of Sebago. In subsequent years, Dr. Kendall founded Camp Wawenock for girls, and the boys division dissolved.

“My mother was Ethelyn Shaw. Dan and Cora Shaw were her parents,” Banks said. “I didn't know they owned a house at Wawenock but my mother said they lived there when they were first married. Dan's father Nelson wasn't as into farming as his predecessors were. He was more into racehorses. Don't know when Dan and Cora moved to the Shaw Farm (on Shaw Road).”

As it turns out, the Shaws owned and lived in my farmhouse prior to establishing their own farm.

LaCasce’s memoirs said that “At that time the ‘Farm House’ was a working farm with a barn across the road. During my parents’ time, the barn was the stable for the riding horses. In the teens, Dan and Cora Shaw lived in the Farm House and operated the farm for the camp.” The farm provided garden produce, milk, and butter for the camp.

And so it begins, a new friendship, compliments of social media. It doesn’t stop there. Plans are in the works for a possible neighborhood historical society and a compilation of printed history.

In his book “supercommunicator,” author Charles Duhigg says, “Communication is a super power. Afterall, human connection is what it’s all about.” <

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