Wednesday, February 1, 2017

American Legion Color Guard & Drill Team

Everyone loves a parade.  East Hampton has seen the annual Memorial Day Parade going back to the late 19th century and our Old Home Day Parade since 1910, it now an annual event since the late 1970s.  With the Old Home Day revival in 1953, suspended since WWII, the local American Legion Post No. 64 felt it fitting to participate in a grand way.  Legion members formed a Color Guard and Drill Team which represented the Legion Post and our Town into the 1960s in various competitions in the State and in National Parades and Conventions including Atlantic City and Washington D.C., in the latter receiving the third place trophy as the best performing Color Guard and Drill Team among the numerous teams participating from around the country.  The irony of these honored veterans who served in World War II and the Korean Conflict forming a drill team and voluntarily marching can't be overlooked.  Most, if not all of these veterans, while in active military service, had a disdain for any further organized marching.  I'm sure most uttered on numerous occasions, probably in a somewhat unflattering manner while in their respective branch of service, that the last thing they would ever do again when discharged is march - yet here they were.  Over that decade from formation, over 20 veterans - Legion members participated, with weekly practices, in parades and full recognition of deceased veterans.  Participating were Gilson Hall, Richard Hitchcock, Charles Walton, James Wall, Jr., Donald Markham, Arthur Jacobson, Jr., Hilding Hanson, John Jacobson, John Hanson, Francis Phillips, Edgar Prince, Henry Fielding, Richard Bertrand, Rev. John Hosmer, Byron Clark, Lester Hammond, Harold Lord, Louis Valli, William Marquess, and Francis Valli. Gentlemen! We salute you and thank you for your service.

L-R Gilson Hall, Charles Walton, Donald Markham, ___________, Francis Valli, ___________, Arthur Jacobson, Jr., _____________, Lester Hammond, Louis Valli, _________________, Richard Hitchcock, Byron Clark, _______________, Harold Lord

A Rose by any other name - Hog Hill

Many of our street name origins are reasonably apparent.  Lakeview Street adjacent to Lake View Cemetery overlooks Lake Pocotopaug. Barton Hill was the home of William Barton, the first bell maker.  Miller Hill the farm of an early resident.  You probably won't find the street in any current town road index as it is now Main and South Main Streets, but a "native" would likely know its location.  Hog Hill would be equally evident other than the fact there have been no hogs in recent history.  Located eastward from Middle Haddam along Route 149, the ground rises from the Connecticut River, in some places quite steeply and very boldly.  Here a hill of great natural beauty and enchanting scenery was to become known as "Hog Hill" bearing this unbecoming name with originates from colonial days because of a particular episode.  Shortly after settlement, the General Court (the General Assembly) in 1740 granted Middle Haddam settlers its petition to incorporate as a parish, The first meeting house (the church) was erected on the side of this lovely hill.  The meeting house was stoned up underneath (its foundation) and a small aperture left to access under the church.  As was the practice, hogs belonging to the early settlers were allowed to roam at large, foraging unattended.  During a rather violent thunder and lightning storm the swine took refuge under the church.  Some party, likely some mischievous children, closed the entrance shutting in the swine.  Since they normally roamed free, no one noticed them missing until the Sabbath day.  Worshipers were serenaded by the snorting and sequels of the trapped hogs as services began.  Service was temporarily halted as the prisoners were released.  Hog Hill has retained its name ever since.