Good Will - Hinckley we change lives
History: One Man's Vision
In the early 1800’s, a young George Walter Hinckley witnessed a small boy’s arrest for reaching into a working man’s dinner pail. George Walter asked himself why no one had taken notice that the young boy had been without food for 3 consecutive days. He was not a criminal – he was simply hungry.
At that point, George Walter vowed to come to the aid of young boys in similar plight. He would build a house… houses…and provide homes for those in need.
In the 1860’s, George Walter was a student at Guilford Institute in his home town of Guilford, Connecticut. It had been written that new students there were spotted easily, and George noticed a thin, young, somewhat aggressive young man with tousled hair. From head to toe, none of his clothing matched.
After befriending the young man, George W. discovered him to be an orphan, assigned to work at a nearby farm. The young man, Ben Mason, was seeking refuge on the grounds of the school after finding the farm to be a very unpleasant place where he was treated very poorly.
George told Ben he didn’t have to go back to the farm. Instead he could stay at his home with his family. Although the parents of George W. struggled financially, they took in Ben willingly and the two became lifelong friends. Thus, the Good Will Idea began.
George was a spiritual man and an impressive preacher, who longed to become a minister. His work with a Sunday school brought him to Maine where he became determined to build a home for needy boys. Farming was also important to him, and in looking for a location for this home, he found a Fairfield, Maine farm, owned by the Chase family – grandparents of former Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith – to be ideal. Good Will Farm, as it is known, was then and still is the cornerstone of Good Will-Hinckley Homes for Boys and Girls.
Since 1889, our mission remains to provide a home and helping hand for young people in need. The organization has helped thousands of young people from Maine and other states. Today, Good Will-Hinckley is home to several programs that continue to fulfill Reverend Hinckley’s mission.