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 The Meeting House

meetinghousesketch

Katherine Chase Owens Begins her article with:   My earliest recollection of the interior of the building is—as you entered the building through the double doors there was a narrow and short hall way with two small rooms partitioned off on each side of the hall way. The one on the left was the selectmen's room, on the right a small room with a kitchen stove and stair way on the north and east side of the building leading to the balcony, used as a dining room. The stairs were very narrow and rickety giving one the feeling they might break. It may have been the original lumber.

 The widows in the attic over the front door have nine panes of glass over six panes. Windows over the double front doors are twelve over twelve. The two windows on each side of the double doors originally were twelve over twelve extending little beyond the balcony floor leaving a narrow open space between the balcony floor leaving a narrow open space between the balcony floor and the main floor. One can see that the upper part of the windows have been closed with clapboards. There are three windows on the north and south side of the building with twelve over twelve panes. The original interior blinds at the windows are still in use.

To my knowledge there was only one chimney, extending up through the balcony. Laurence Davis told me the chimney was in the northwest corner of the selectmen's office.

The author does not believe there were any windows on the wall opposite the entrance.

Just where was the first meeting house? Was the building complete or just a frame as the town clerk has written in his records, stating it is on the Wm. Clifford lot.

John Chase and Laurence Davis have been told that the first meeting house was out back of the Dr. Kitfield or John's wood lot.

In the Rufus Sewall papers we find that on "April 16, 1773 Afternoon went down to the frame of the meeting house to bore the mortise to let the water out. Oct. 17, 1774, Went to see about pulling down the meeting house frame but concluded to let it stand for the present and warn a town meeting. Apr. 2, 1775 a meeting was held at Mr. Goves, had Mr. Elliot preach for us".

The present Town Hall was the first active meetinghouse that we have on record. It was a stormy battle or was it due to the war one will not know. In 1774 a great deal of thought went into its location. 1775 a vote was taken over building a meeting house and a committee was chosen to find the centre of the town. The next time the town meeting house is mentioned is in May 1777 when the town voted not to act on the 5th art. which was to see if the town would do anything toward building a meeting house.

In March,. 1778 Voted to clear a place. Mar. 6, 1787 Voted to build two meeting houses 1 in the town of Edgecomb, 1 on Squam. To raise one hundred fifty pounds to build 2 houses. Committee to build on main Will Cunningham, David Trask, Thomas Ring. Squam: Samuel ---, James Jewett, Josiah Parsons. Dec. 18, 1788 Voted to build a meeting house on the land that was purchased of William Cleford, to be 35 x 45, to be raised by the first day of May, board and shingle before haying. On April 6, 1789 Voted to give Nathan Gove (20) twenty dollars for 2 acres of land for to build the meeting house. Said Gove to clear one acre of said land. May 6th 1789 to dismiss the committee that was to build meeting house.

"Voted to give Nathaniel Leeman 157 pounds to build meeting house. Said Leeman to have benefit of selling the pews and to complete the whole in two years from this date." May 11. 1790 "Chose Capt. Ebenezer Gove, Wm. Cunningham and Barnabas Sears to give the undertakers of the meeting house directions how to build the meeting house. "The Ilan (Island) to have full power to build their meeting house as they please." Then on Oct. 4, 1790 Voted to give undertaker of meeting house 1 yr. longer time to finish the same. Voted to choose a committee to fix the spot for the meeting house on Squam Island. Committee on Squam James Jewett, Samuel Greenleaf, Caneles Tarbox. April 4, 1701 Voted to dismiss Nathaniel Leeman from building the meeting house. An agreement with Moses Davis to frame the meeting house, find all timber, boards, shingles, clapboards, nails, glass and other materials. Town to pay 157 pounds; Davis to have advantage of selling the pews, to set up pews at the endue $10. each. To finish said house in two years, thirty pounds in one month from date, 30 pounds in 3 months, a third 30 pounds in six months to make 90 pounds and the whole of 157 pounds in one year. According to plans which was laid before said to meeting to acceptance of committee; Capt. Ebenezer Gove, Lt. Wm. Cunningham and Stephen Merrill. Sept 27, 1791 Voted to raise 124 pounds for building meeting houses in Edgecomb, that 44 pounds out of the 124 pounds be settled on the island. In 1793 the town meeting was held in the meeting house and they voted to raise 10 pounds to paint meeting house on the Main and then they voted again on May 13, 1794 to raise 15 pounds to paint the meeting house (Note from author: trouble is brewing, things are not going well with Moses even if he is elected moderator at said meetings.) The town appoints an agent Wm. Cunningham, to settle with Moses, a rule is set Rice Esq. John Furley, Thos. Rice Esq., John Furley, Thos.McClure Esq.

June 23, 1794 To selling of the pews with Barnabas Sears vendue master. To keep town meeting at Wm Cunningham's for the year. By Apr. 1798 the Town voted to give Moses Davis $50 and to have pew No.19 and settle and take deeds. June 1798 a citation is served by the town agent on Moses Davis. At the same meeting they decided to settle and discontinue the suit. According to Moses' diary the dispute was settled in a peaceful manner and the group visited a Wiscasset tavern following the meeting and the town saved its honor.

From Early Edgecomb, Vol 1, p.21,  by Katherine Chase Owen 1996