From Raynham ‘76

Published by Raynham Bicentennial Committee


The Raynham Lions Club was founded by thirty-eight men at Weonit Hall on February 13, 1946, making it the oldest service organization in town.  Lions International is the world's largest service organization with clubs located in countries throughout the free world.  Lions have been instrumental in eye research programs and in development of new ways to treat eye disease and blindness.

In its thirty years, the Raynham Lions Club has provided for hundreds of local needs.  In its early years, the Lions added valuable assistance to the public schools donating and erecting the first basketball stantions still in use behind the North, Center, and South Schools.  They donated the first movie projector used in the schools and operated a competitive school spelling bee among the three schools the trophy of which was retired by the North School.  Their Halloween and Christmas parties for the youngsters were eagerly awaited events in the early fifties.  The Lions and Legion cooperated to floodlight Johnson's Pond for skating and the Lions provided instruments for the first school band.

To finance further service projects, the Lions began in 1952 an annual orgy that still survives called "The Game Supper" which continues to be the local stag special event of the winter.  Tables are laden with venison, bear steak, raccoon, stuffed bass, moose, wild goose, wild duck, and the favorite, hunter's pie. Occasional surprises such as wild mountain lion appear along with the traditional vegetables and Indian pudding dessert.  Another tradition of the Game Supper has been the raffle with the stentorian voice of William "Bottles" Squires.

"Bottles" who joined the club in 1955, got his nickname from his former ownership of the Milk Bottle on Broadway.  Lions are quite particular about their nicknames, especially in Raynham where the practice has achieved new "depths".  A new member has an opportunity to suggest a nickname after which nominations are made from the floor with a majority vote the deciding factor.  Some of the more original choices have been Bunker Hill, Tax Hall, Pineapple Dole, Stagnant Poole, Stinky Thompson, Smoky Januse, Popeye Olson, Fig Newton, Habeas Cushman, Creeper Briggs, Ding Dong Bellamy, Leaky Goslin, Sawdust Williams, Wink Lewis, Choo Choo Derby, Greasy Markowski, Boondocks Cameron, Zipper Secatore, Shades DeCosta, Kingfish Fisher, Red Baron Manning, Cornflakes Kellog, Gassy Seymour, Red Baron Manning, Machine Gun Kelly, Hi Ho Tokarz, Blueberry Hill, and Robin Hood Waldron.

The Lions are a service group who enjoy socializing.  Weonit Hall is long since gone but the club has continued its meetings at Gilmore Hall, Butterworths, and finally Carls where they meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month gathering at 6:30 and having dinner at 7:30.  Meetings are high- lighted with special programs of importance and interest to members.

Lions are men who enjoy diversity.  Many find Lions a perfect spot to meet different kinds of people, to hear differing ideas and opinions and to enjoy each others company regardless of these differences.  Native Raynhamites whose families have lived here for generations mingle with those who moved to town last month.  Their common bond is a community interest.

This year the Raynham Lions Club sponsors a Little League Team, the Raynham Lions who won the championship last year.  They sponsor a Cub Scout Pack and annually donate money to the Boy and Girl Scouts.  For years they have aided needy families and sent annual contributions to Eye Research.

Since its founding the club has continued collection of eyeglasses for use in other countries.  Last year members built some forty chairs for Paul Dever State School. For several years the Lions operated a community band which was held together by the leadership of the late "Doc" Heywood and begun by "Buff" Viles.  Organizations such as the Marathon House and the Raynham Human Services Center have also benefitted from their help.

In this bicentennial year the Lions are donating invaluable service to Raynham.  An anchor to commemorate the "Anchor Forge" has been donated to the town by the United States Navy.  The Lions are providing a concrete foundation upon which to rest the anchor, transporting it here from Newport, R.I. and restoring it to a suitable condition.  The Lions are also hosting a dance on the evening of Saturday, May 15, preceded by a chicken barbeque, all as part of the week long bicentennial observation.

Last year, the club began an annual Eye Research Dance to replace the annual light bulb sale in raising funds for Eye Research.

In 1961 the Lions Club began its annual scholarship drive which results in a donation to a worthy Raynham student.  The club chooses a committee of citizens to award a thousand dollars annually to one or more recipients.

The Lions Club then is a viable force in the Raynham of 1976 embodying the "Spirit of '76" in its service to the community and in its fellowship of men from differing backgrounds and occupations.  To join the club one need only speak to a member.  To be a Lion is to be concerned, involved, and working together with some good fellows for some worthy causes. Welcome!

  Copyright © 1976

Raynham Historic Commission
Raynham, Massachusetts


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