Roger C. Storms

            The October and November, 1971 issues of The National Statesman say, in an unsigned article:  Roger C. Storms was born in Houlton, Maine on August 3, 1939.  His father is a Baptist minister who recently served a term as president of the United Baptist Convention of Maine.  His maternal relatives, the McKusicks, have been active in public service for several generations.  They include an uncle who is Chief Forester for the state of Connecticut and another uncle who is a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.  The latter uncle is world famous for his genetic studies of the Amish, Hutterites, and other groups.  He has appeared in Time magazine and other national news media several times.

            Rogers interest in public affairs was first stirred by his long visits with his grandfather as a boy.  He watched his grandfather campaign for the last of his four terms in the Maine Senate and talked with him often while he served as chairman of the State Board of Education.  Another deep impression was made when he visited his uncle as a boy in Washington, DC.  At that time, this uncle was serving as law clerk to Felix Frankfurter on the Supreme Court.  Here, Roger got his first taste of national political activity.

            Roger Storms graduated from North Yarmouth Academy and received his BA in 1961 from Eastern Baptist College of St. Davids, Pennsylvania.  Actively interested in politics, he was elected by the student  body to the office of Student Council President.        

            Roger says:  “At this point in my life, I would rather have taken a thorough beating than to have turned my back on the political system which my family had served so long.  But I had had perhaps too close a look at too young an age.  Something in the religious training I was getting did not jive with what I had studied so avidly about politics.

            “And now in 1960 a Roman Catholic was running for president.  The pressure was on to defeat him at all costs in this Protestant school which I was attending.  Kennedy promised to oppose aid to parochial schools, while Nixon and Lodge promised to support it.  Whenever I would mention this fact to my friends, they would reveal their determination to defeat a Catholic no matter what the facts were.  This struck me not only as ugly prejudice but irrational as well.

            “My only knowledge of the Prohibition Party was a couple of paragraphs in Newsweek magazine about Dr. Holtwick in 1955 and 1956.  It stuck in my mind I suppose because he was a history professor, and I loved history.  Anyway, I had only a glancing curiosity of the party that I saw in the almanacs and was certain I did not agree with it.

            “Dr. Ernest Ackley, a Philippine missionary and former dean of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, was then teaching at my college.  I talked with him quite often, and he mentioned voting for Watson in 1948.  He also said that he knew Dr. Decker of Kansas City who was now running on the Prohibition Ticket.  Since Dr. Decker was a Baptist, he drew mention from a couple of others who were my friends.  I paid little attention, because I had no feelings against drinking that were particularly strong, and I was certain that Prohibition had been a foolish mistake and a failure.

            I was head waiter in our college dining hall, and for this reason I usually arrived early after picking up my mail.  On this particular day which I shall always remember, I received my absentee ballot from Maine.  It was exciting for me.  At last for the first time, I was old enough to vote in the public affairs which my upbringing had been steeped in.  I sat down at a dining table and looked at the ballots.  At the top of one was the name of Nixon and Kennedy.  As I thought about it, I realized that I could not vote for either of these men.  The more I thought about it, the more disturbed I became.  Finally, I decided to bow my head in this quiet dining room and pray.  Insight came to me like a powerful flash, and I knew then that I must vote for the Prohibition Party.

            “I was so excited by God’s power filling me that I jumped from my chair and hurried into the hall to tell anyone I could find.  I didn’t care at that point how crazy I might appear to my friends and professors.  By some providence, Dr. Ackley was walking down the stairs and was the first person I met.  With his help, the aid of the librarian and the New York Times  index, I knew who to vote for by write-in method and who to write to make my commitment known.

            “Since that time, God’s infinite wisdom for my life has been confirmed again and again.  I am not especially brave in facing ridicule or family disapproval, for I was brought up in an atmosphere where social acceptance was important.  But, I wouldn’t trade it all for the spiritual treasures that have been opened to me – all because the Prohibition Party was there when I needed it.  It remains my first love among causes.”

            Roger Storms returned to Maine, where he taught history, government, and English in the public schools of Dexter and Greenville.  For the past 7 years, he has been Guidance Director and Chairman of the History Department at Lee Academy.  He has been an innovator of new teaching resources.  He introduced his students to the first high school anthropology text.  His pioneer course in Comparative Religions was the subject of an interview on Maine Educational Television, encouraging public schools to teach religious ideas in this new way.  At the request of the Christian Civic League of Maine, he wrote a pamphlet for use in the schools entitled:  The History and Benefits of Temperance Laws.  Maine law requires the teaching of this subject, but until this was written, no material was available.

            Storms is best known as a local historian.  He is the author of two books in this field:  History of Parkman and A History of Three Corners.  Both have been reviewed in several general as well as historical periodicals.  The latter is a 25-town regional study developed as a local history textbook for his students at Lee Academy.  This course is one of several “mini-courses” which he has developed.  But, the local history approach has drawn particular attention.  An article written by him on the project has appeared in the nationally read The History Teacher magazine and [was] reprinted in the Maine Historical Society Newsletter under the title: Local History: Mirror of AmericaHe serves the latter society as a writer of book reviews.

            He was a signer of the incorporating charter of the Maine Old Cemetery Association.  He still serves on its Board of Directors, as well as the board of the Lee Historical Society and Museum.  He has written 4 historical articles appearing in the Bangor Daily News, Maine’s largest daily.  In addition, many of his letters to the editor have appeared.  At least 6 times, the Bangor Daily cartoonist has drawn an illustration to accompany his letters.  Storms has also written 7 historical pieces appearing in The National Statesman over the years.  For over 10 years, he researched the history of the Prohibition Party as a hobby.  His party history, Partisan Prophets, was copyrighted in 1970.

            Roger Storms received his MA degree in History in 1968 from the University of Maine at Orono.  He was an American Studies Fellow with the Coe Foundation in the summer of 1963, studying American communal societies.  In the summer of 1965, he was an NDEA Fellow at Dartmouth College, studying American Toryism during the Revolutionary War.  He is an avid student of political dissent and minority opinions.

            Active in the Maine Teachers Association, he has served one term as President of his local association and several years as MTA Faculty Representative, in addition to several lesser positions.

            He is licensed to preach the gospel by the United Baptist Convention of Maine and has served as interim pastor of the neighboring Springfield Congregational Church.  He serves frequently as a pulpit supply [pastor], as well as [giving] his historical lectures to various groups.  He serves his local church in Lee as Moderator and Deacon.  He also holds several lesser church offices on [the] local, association, and state levels.

            Storms has served as Secretary of the Prohibition National Committee since 1969.  He recently was elected … President of the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society and a Trustee of the National Prohibition Foundation, Inc.

            Roger Storms would be the first to say that he owes many of these achievements to the inspiration and the fellowship that he has found in the Prohibition Party.  He says, “Because you people cared enough to keep on going on, I have been able to see my life in terms of a higher way of Christian service.”


  
[BACK]