Mary Dillingham Chapter was organized January 1895 as the second chapter in Maine. The organizing Chapter Regent was Mrs. Caroline Webster Stockbridge Downs Rich, daughter of John Stockbridge, Jr. and Anna Leavitt; granddaughter of John Stockbridge and Mary Dillingham of Byron, Maine and Joseph Leavitt and Anna Stevens of Turner, Maine.
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Opportunity Farm Connections
Farm since the beginning in 1910 has been a project of the Maine
Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. It was the vision of Mr.
F. Forest Pease, a young man who came to Lewiston to assist Mr. Frank
Winter in organizing the Androscoggin Boys Club after having been for a
year, Assistant Superintendent of the Boys Club. Mr. Pease felt the
need of a home for underprivileged boys and Mr. Winter offered the use
of a farm and buildings in New Gloucester. Mr. Pease and Mr.
Winter believed in giving these
boys an opportunity to help themselves and decided upon Opportunity Farm as an appropriate name. It was out of the Androscoggin Boys Club that the Lewiston Social Settlement was born. This project was organized by M. W. H. Newell.
The first boys at Opportunity
after the plans of the Androscoggin Boys Club were drawn up were three
homeless boys from Lewiston Social Settlement, brought to the Farm by
Mrs. Newell and Mrs. Florence Nye.
Later Portland friends including Mrs. A. A. Kendall, State Regent 1903-1905, became interested and boys arrived from Portland.
During Mr. Pease’s first years at the Farm, Dr. Alfred Williams Anthony and his sister, Miss Kate Anthony, became interested in the Farm. Just when The Maine Daughters became interested in the Farm is not known but there is every reason to believe it was in 1910-1911.
June 14, 1912 eleven persons met in
Portland and organized the
corporation, Opportunity Farm Association, with Mrs. A. A. Kendall the
first President and Mrs. Newell, Vice President.
The 1913-1914 Year Book of the Maine Society said: “A resolution was Passed that the Maine Daughters continue to endorse the work of the Opportunity Farm.” Mrs. Kendall, State Chairman, reported contributions of $500.00 had been received from Maine Daughters up to that time.
In 1913 the Association purchased a small farm, not far from the present location, being known as the lower farm. A few years later the house was rebuilt and named Kendall House. In 1914 Dr. Anthony and his sister presented to the Association a farm of over one hundred acres with a set of buildings, this being the present location of buildings.
At one time there were over fifty boys at the Farm, but in 1938 it was voted to limit the number to thirty-eight. At the present time thirty boys are there. During the years there have been different superintendents, matrons, and teachers. At present, there are seven on the staff. While Mr. and Mrs. James Foster were there, Opportunity Farm was placed among the leading institutions of child care. A band was organized during these years, the different instruments being provided by the Maine Daughters.
The Mary Dillingham Chapter contributed to the Opportunity Farm for Boys in 1912 and every year since.
In 2003 the Farm opened a new house for girls and a year later another house for girls. The chapter holds a meeting there annually and keeps abreast of the activities. We donated an American flag for the girls' campus on the Short Chandler Road in New Gloucester.
This chapter has been involved in many fund raising campaigns for the Farm throughout the years, the most successful one being the brick walkway. We have purchased memorial bricks for some of our members as well as three that designate the chapter and year.