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Collage of images portraying Squam Lake in Holderness, NH


In those early days, as still today, there were local residents who worked at the Camps year round. They concentrated on maintenance, repairs and the building of the cottages. Deacon Haskell, the legendary one-armed carpenter, built many of the early cottages. He was replaced by Tom Sommers who with his wife performed many services. Tom served as farm manager when fresh vegetables were grown as well as purchasing agent, plumber and mechanic. Colby Lyford was involved with the construction of the later cottages and worked closely with Mrs. Armstrong. His son, Norman, still works on the camp buildings and replaced his father at the ice saw. Miss Alice Main of Ashland was Mrs. Armstrong's bookkeeper and secretary for many years. Paul Needham succeeded Tom Sommers and had as his assistants Robert Howe and William Zimmer who continue today to care for the buildings, boats, plumbing, vehicles, as well as handling the icing and syruping. These loyal people were a great help to Mrs. Armstrong and later Mrs. Howe, in the development and preservation of the physical plant.

The opening of Rockywold gave more opportunities to students at Hampton and the community grew as both camps expanded. It was considered a privilege to come to work here though much was expected. The students had a song they used to sing about Mrs. Armstrong: Here's the little widow coming on the run, never let her catch you with your work undone. She was strict but fair in all her dealings and somehow managed to make each one feel as if they were part owner and therefore responsible for the smooth running of the camp. A guest once told her Rockywold runs like a French clock, you can see it run but you can't hear it tick.

The RDC experience had a profound effect on the lives of many black students. They found here people who were interested in them, who were fair in their dealings, and who appreciated what they had to offer. Mrs. Armstrong followed closely the educational careers of these young people. Once when parting, a guest said good-bye in Latin. In the car on the way to town the guests could not understand what he had said. The driver of the car translated for them.

A close group of Hampton people were key employees for Mrs. Armstrong for over two generations. Names like: Joshua Baldwin, Howard Cann, Robert and John Smith, Harold Ball, Lena White, Lucy Lee Jones, Clara Scott, and Ruth Thompson. These and many more, faithfully served the Camps through the first fifty years of existence.

The summer staff was all black until the early sixties. Following the Brown vs. school board case and the integration of public elementary and secondary schools across America, the management of the Camps became increasingly uncomfortable with the image of a totally black work force and a totally white guest clientele. The time had come for change.

To me and many, many others, working in Rockywold Deephaven Camps hasnot been just a job or a place to work--it has meant to us a place to live a full, rich and healthy life––a place wherein one can learn the true value of life, if he so desires... It would take a book of hundreds of pages to tell of the many things I would like to tell of camp life during the years I have spent here––I say years, because they were years to me, not only summers but winters as well–– for all during the winter months my heart and mind were in camp.

~ Joshua Baldwin