Greg Baker empties the first scoop of sawdust into a pit Thursday at the Windsor Fairgrounds in preparation for Saturday’s celebration of Windsor’s bicentennial. One of the activities is to be a sawdust hunt, where children dig to find hidden treasures. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

WINDSOR — Residents are set to gather Saturday at the Windsor Fairgrounds to celebrate Windsor’s bicentennial, although the town’s colorful history predates its incorporation under that name.

Bob Brann of the Windsor Historical Society said the area was initially known as Pinhook, due to a hook in the Sheepscot River in what is now the Coopers Mills area. It then became Malta, a name forever associated with the so-called Malta War uprising that pitted local squatters against Massachusetts-based land proprietors. For a brief time, it was renamed Gerry. And since 1822, has been Windsor.

Saturday events celebrating the town’s past 200 years are to include old-time games that Windsor residents likely enjoyed years ago, including three-legged races, egg spoon runs, sawdust hunts and a frying pan toss.

Plans also call for the Windsor Historical Society’s buildings to be open, with staff members at the society’s working sawmill and blacksmithing operation demonstrating how things were done long ago. The historical society has 12 restored buildings at the fairgrounds.

“We’ll have the 19th century sawmill demonstration and blacksmithing demonstration open, and we’ll be doing broom-making,” Brann said.

Events are scheduled to begin at the fairgrounds with a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and conclude with a baked bean supper, movie, street dance with a disc jockey and, at about 9:30 p.m., fireworks.


“We’re just trying to get the community together to help us celebrate our 200th, our bicentennial, with some old-time kind of events,” Town Manager Theresa Haskell said. “A fun way for the community to get together.”

Events are also to include a display of antique cars, carriage rides, bounce houses and games, bingo, a founder’s day picnic, a presentation to the oldest and youngest town residents, music by the Downeast Brass band and a cornhole tournament. A couple of food trucks are also expected.

Most events are free, Haskell said, other than bingo, cornhole and food.

The Malta War took place when Windsor was known as Malta, after surveyor Paul Chadwick was fatally shot in a confrontation with a group of squatters while he was surveying land for the Massachusetts officials who had claim to the land.

Several men were arrested and charged with murder, and an armed mob of locals approached the Kennebec County jail in Augusta to try to free the suspects, although they were thwarted by a militia. The suspects were later found not guilty.

The area was incorporated as Malta on March 3, 1809, then reincorporated in 1820 as Gerry, in honor of Elbridge Gerry, the fifth vice president of the United States and a Massachusetts governor. Two years later it was renamed Windsor, at the suggestion of Anthony Coombs, according to “Illustrated History of Kennebec County,” printed in 1892.

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