OUR HISTORY IN BRIEF
The date was June 26, 1895. A cannon boom echoed from the rocky New Hampshire hillside above Newfound Lake, sometimes called Lake Pasquaney. The boom was part of a modest ceremony during which 32-year-old Edward Simpson Wilson welcomed eighteen campers and four counsellors to the opening season of Camp Pasquaney. The cannon was the invention of young Mr. Wilson’s father, Captain John Wall Wilson, U.S.N., retired. Captain Wilson was himself present at the ceremony, and added his words of welcome to those of his son.
After the firing of the cannon, the American flag – bearing 44 stars – was broken out from the brand-new flagpole and the man who came to be known as Mr. Ned formally announced that [Camp Pasquaney] was under way.
On June 25, 1984, 40-year-old John Kenneth Gemmill, [fourth] in line of Pasquaney directors, presided over an almost identical ceremony. The same beautiful hillside, same spot for the flagpole, same booming of the cannon. He welcomed 82 campers and 23 counsellors, explained the history of Captain Wilson’s gun, directed the breaking out of the flag – 50 stars this time – and declared that the 90th consecutive season of Camp Pasquaney had begun.
Charles F. Stanwood (Director, 1940-1974), Portrait of Pasquaney
Director Michael Hanrahan, sixth in line of Pasquaney directors, continues to preside over the same ceremony that has marked the start of over 125 summers. Pasquaney remains a place very much rooted in its history: we still use kerosene lamps, we still live a simple life away from electronic distractions, we still cheer each other on with a “Railroad,” and our oldest boys still sleep in Dana Hall, which housed the inaugural campers in 1895.
Most importantly, a 19th-century idealism, defined by strength of character and values, still lies at the heart of Pasquaney’s approach to educating boys. Despite our connection with the past, Pasquaney is constantly adopting new traditions that promote our values and striving to improve. In the words of alumnus Clay Morton, “Pasquaney is becoming more Pasquaney all the time.”