THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
A History of the Congregational Church was written by Rufus Sewall, Church Clerk, in 1870. "The Congregational Church existed in Edgecomb as early as 1783. No written official records of its transactions have come down to the present time or are known to exist." Sewall quotes from Moses Davis' Journal "Wednesday, March 4, 1801, the Council met at Mrs. Gores, where the Church was then organized." Members were "Thomas Ring, Moses Davis, Daniel Hood and Stephen Adams." Sept. 30, 1807 the Church consisted of five male and six female members."
List of early Ministers: Rev. John Elliot, Supply April 2, 1775 and May 7, 1789: Rev. Thurston Whiting Jan. 9,1776 and occasionally until Feb.24, 1786; Rev--'Rolf Nov. 27. 1791 & June 15, 1792; Rev. Wm. Pickles Aug. 4, 1793 and occasionally until June 24, 1798, Sabbath, July 28, 1793, Rev. Emerson of Georgetown first occupied the meeting house with dedicatory services: Rev. Marshfield Steele Sept 30 to Nov. 28. 1798; Rev. Azel Washburn Oct. 26 to Nov. 24,1799' Rev. Benjamin Chapman May 18,1800, Installed Pastor Mar.4,1801, Died July 13,1804; Samuel Sewell Jan 17,1805, ordained Sept 30, 1807 removed to Phippsburg ,June 8, 1814; Rev. Jabez P. Fisher portion of 1815&1816; Rev Jonathan Belden part of 1819; Rev Amasa Smith July 16, 1820 to Oct. 9, 1820; Thomas Simpson Nov. 19,1820-Aug. 11, 1822. The list goes up to1865.
List of members: On June 4, 1783, Thomas Ring, Deacon, Moses Davis, Daniel Hood, Stephen Adams, Mrs. Sarah Parson, Martha Ring, Mrs. Sarah Dodge, Mrs. Ruth Hood. Mar. 4, 1801, Benjamin Harrington, Mrs. Rebecca Clifford, Mrs. Hannah Cushman. Sept. 20, 1807, Rev. Samuel Sewall, Mrs. Prudence Gove, Mrs. Betsey Gove, Mrs. Phoebe, Moore, Azariah Baker, Deacon. On and on until 1870.
After the Congregational Parish finished off the hall over the school house they met there until the newchurch was built and dedicated on February 15, 1882.
We might add here that pews were sold at the Old meeting house and there is mention in the town records of different members reselling the pews. Pews were sold in the new church and deeds were given to the purchaser. At the back of the new church there were two closets called the Library. These books could be taken out. Some have said there was a fee of 1 or 2 cents a week but I have not been able to prove this. However, those who made use of the library have said that there was some good reading in the church library and at one time there was a librarian on certain days in attendance.
The Edgecomb Sabbath School Union was organized May 10, 1827. Nearly twenty years later, as the records and constitution were so worn and partly lost, a committee was formed at a meeting on June 1, 1845, to restructure the constitution. On April 16, 1846 a new set of by-laws were written. Art. 3 of the new by-laws reads: "Selecting and procuring a library for the use of the school." First officers chosen were: Rev. Elias Wells, Pres.; Obadiah Baker, V. Pres.; Rufus Sewall, Sec'y. & Treas'r; Thos. W. Chadbourn, Librarian; Rufus Sewwall, Supt.; Rev. Elias Wells & Obadiah Baker, Managers. Members in 1846 as follows: Thos. W. Chadbourn, Mrs. Sarah Chase, Mrs. Susan Merrill, Wm. Cochran, Wm. Baker, Ebenezer Perkins, Esq., Ezra Cunningham, Esq., Joseph Dodge, 2nd., John Dodge, Josiah Dodge, Joseph Sherman, Ebenezer Haggett, Daniel Dodge, Joseph Dodge, Obadiah Baker, Mrs. Pinkham, John Chase, Rufus Sewall.
Meetings were held at the meeting house, usually after the public services of the annual Fast. The average treasury balance was about $5.00. At one time the society was in debt by $4.13. The prices paid for books was often much less than 50 cents.
In 1857 the Rev. Amasa Loring was President. On Fast Day of 1861, Miss Augusta Palmer, Fanny Cunningham, Abby Clifford & Delia Wilson were chosen to solicit funds "to procure a library."
There is a list of 65 children who attended the Sabbath School starting May 17, 1846 with their ages and name of one parent giving the father's occupation. Under the Remarks most parents were classed as "Pious."
Additional information is available through the records of the Sabbath School
From Early Edgecomb, Vol 1, p.25, by Katherine Chase Owen
THE FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH
located on the now Old County Road
Courtesy of John Chase
Most of the Baptist Church records were unintentionally destroyed by a human error in the 1970s. To establish a history of the Church we have taken notes from various sources. The following are quotes from the Free Baptist Cyclopaedia. In 1780 Benjamin Randall made his first preaching tour of Maine. On Oct. 2, on his first visit to Woolwich, 300 spectators witnessed their first baptism by immersion. The next Sabbath he organized a Church of 20 members on Squam and the foundation of the Edgecomb Q.M. (Quarterly Meeting) was laid. In 1783 he visited again. "Many were con-verted in places not before visited especially in NewCastle & Edgecomb." John Whitney was ordained Sept. 7, 1785, entering a ministry among the frontier settlements. Whitney assisted by Hibbard organized a Church of 20 members at Edgecomb on the main. 1786 Whitney settled herewith the Church. (Edgecomb) Revivals were enjoyed and in 1789 at Edgecomb ten were baptized. 1788 the Sept. session of Q.M. was held at Edgecomb. 1808 quote "But the glorious power of the Lord, which was working wonders of grace in the Edgecomb Q.M., was present with the people in the "great grove reformation at Saco, two thousand sat down in the grove to listen." Between 1797-1799 Sally Parsons of Edgecomb married a son of Randall, "she was a power for good to the churches she visited." In 1804 Randall baptized thirty at Edgecomb and Timothy Cunningham ordained as ruling elder. 1811 at the Y.M. Zachariah Leach preached in Edgecomb. 1814-the areas of Edgecomb, Boothbay and Georgetown was visited by a reformation, over one hundred were baptised. In 1827 about 40 gathered into the Edgecomb Church. Many Edgecomb people united with the Church in Georgetown.
Rev. Daniel Hibbard settled in Westport where he passed to his rest in 1827. In 1784 he removed to Woolwich and assumed pastorial care of the Westport church which number 89 members. Sept. 1801 Randall baptised 19 at Westport.
In 1781 Daniel Hibbard and others sent in their first petition to the General Court asking to be set off as a separate parish. Wishing to be called the General Provision Baptist including their Covenant. It appears that friction over the religious or ministral tax is the cause of this unrest. Claiming they have to pay a tax to support a Presbyterian minister whom they have no connection with or his instruction.
By 1801-2 there are several petitions from the Society to the General Court asking to be incorporated into a district of Edgecomb, Woolwich and Georgetown. The towns through their town clerk or a committee sent in their petitions shewing the whys and asking the Court not to incorporate the said Society.
Many of these petitions tell when the document appeared in the house of Representatives and Senate showing the signatures of the House Clerk and President of the Senate also saying leave to withdraw accepted. I have found the petitions from the towns very interesting and will quote part of the petitions.
From one town clerk Joshua Farnham claiming "that in the year 1756 we settled the Rev. Josiah Winship of a collegiate education." A petition from Georgetown, Woolwich and Edgecomb signed by inhabitants from Georgetown, Woolwich and Edgecomb claiming, "We being the minor part of the above Incorporation are called upon to pay taxes for the express purpose of supporting a Congregational Minister while we profess to be of a differant denomination of Christians which we call Baptist."
A petition from the town of Georgetown shews why the petition of Samuel Hinkley & others praying to be incorporated into a district religious Society should not be granted. Followed by a "statement of facts" "until about the time of the conclusion of the last war, when a great number of illeterate and ignorant men tinctured with an high degree of enthusiasm forsook their respective Trades and places of abode and swamed into these distant parts of the Commonwealth and stiling themselves Baptist. Preachers diseminated the wild vagaries of their heated imaginations among the simple and the ignorant." "The expence of supporting a pious learned ministry must be borne by a few . . . The numerous new settlements in this part of the Country will long continue destitute of a learned Ministry, and the rising generation be in danger of sinking down into a State of Heathenish ignorance & vice." Signed Georgetown June 4, 1791 Committy appointed John Stinson, John White, (Francis Wyman) this name is difficult to decipher.
As of to-day I have not found the incorporation papers of the Edgecomb Baptist Church. The following pertains only to the Edgecomb Church and the town.
"Commonwealth of Massachusetts, In Senate June 15, 1801; Petition of Daniel Hibbard and other inhabitants of the town of Edgecomb, in the County of Lincoln praying to be incorporated with such others as may join them into a religious society by the name of General Provision Baptist in Edgecomb.
Ordered that the petitioners notify the inhabitants of Edgecomb by leaving an attested copy of their petition and this order thereon with the Clerk of said town thirty (30) days at least before the third Wednesday of the next session of the General Court that they may then appear and show cause if any have why the prayer of said petitioners should not be granted. Read and accepted-Sent down for concurrance. David Cobb. President. In the House of Representatives June 15, 1801. Read and Concurred Edw. H. Robbins. Speaker. A True Attest. Edw. E. Vanghan, Clerk of the Senate."
Author's note: I have not found the date when Daniel Hibbard wrote or sent in the above petition. This may Certify that I have Notified the Town of Edgecomb agreeable to the within Order of Notice from the General Court. Signed Barnabas Sears, Town Clerk, dated Edgecomb October The 15th-1801.
This may Certify that the Baptist Society in Edgecomb have Lodged their Receipts in my office Certifying that they have paid their Ministerial tax the year past to their own Teacher viz Daniel Hibbard. Signed Barnabas Sears, Town Clerk, dated Edgecomb April the 15th-1801. This may certify that Thomas Hodgdon Jr. of this town had attended under my preaching and has paid his tax for preaching the last year to me. Edgecomb, April 16, 1801 Signed Daniel Hibbard Eldr.
Daniel Hibbard made individual certification of the following: Daniel Bailey, Joseph Hodgdon, Zebulon Greenleaf, Daniel Dunton, Reuben Alley, Nathan Gove Jr., Ruggles Cunningham, Benjamin Dunton, Andrew Dunton, Joseph Brown, Timothy Knight, Samuel Webber, John Ryan, Moses Welch, Isaac Cunningham, Capt. John Dunton, Stephen Greenleaf, John Dunton Jr., John B. Deering, Thomas Cunningham, David Deering, Timothy Cunningham, John Ryan Jr., Andrew Trask, David Webber, Moses Brown, Elijah Brown, James Brown, John Knight, Stephen Parsons, John Cunningham, Nathaniel Greenleaf, Joshua Fowls, Westbrook Knight, Charles S. Brooks, Westbrook Greenleaf, William Patterson.
"Edgecomb January 8th 1802 this day by the desir of the Babtis we have axamned the town Book and find an order Recorded for $48.98 Drawn in favor of Deniel Hibberd the Babtise Minister of Edgecomb Drawen by Moses Davis and William Clifford what was Selectmen in the year 1797 by us William Patterson John Hodgdon Selectmen of Edgecomb."
"The Committee of both Houses, to whom was committed the Petition of Daniel Stebbins and then Inhabitants of the Town of Edgecomb, in the County of Lincoln, praying to be incorporated into a separate religious Society by the name of "The Society of the General Provision Baptist in Edgecomb" having heard the parties—ask leave to report that the ,Petitioners have leave to withdraw their petition, Which is submitted John Treadwell In Senate Feby 18th 1802 Read & accepted Sent down for concurrence David Cobb Presdt In the House of Represent' Feby 19, 1802 Read & concurred Edw. W. Robbins spkr."
Town of Edgecomb shews cause against petition of Daniel Stebbend alais Daniel Hebbard to the General Court of Massachusetts. "That said Town did the last year past, settle & ordain a regular Orthodox Minister of the Gospel . . . and wish for his continuance . . . Your subscribers further shew that they never heard of, nor never knew any person in said Town by the name of Daniel Stebbend or Daniel Hebbend which they have named . . . At the time of our settled Minister . . . there was no opposition . . . As soon as some of the town found that they were liable by Law to pay a tax toward the support of said settled Minister, they went forward with a petition . . . in favor of a Baptist Society, giving incouragement to the signers that they would thereby exculpated from paying any Ministeral tax. Your subscribers further shew that it is our oppinion that if the Prayer of said Baptists should be granted by the General Court so as to clear them of paying taxes as aforesaid agreeable to their expectation, it appears that they said Baptist would take Liberty & have oppertunity to engross so many of said Town to join said Society.. . . The town would be obliged (being left so few) to dismiss their settled Minister Deprives us of the Liberty & benefit of an Orthadox Minister . . . but also of the benefit of the Constitution of said Commonwealth & complying with the Laws & order of the same. If the General Court should see fit & proper in their Wisdom to grant said Baptist (as they stile themselves) their request . . . Your subscribers at the same time would wish for & pray your Honours, that said Town may always, hereafter be exempted from the fine which the Law requires for not settling & supporting an Orthodox minister . . . Said Town wishes to conform to the Laws & regulations of said Commonwealth . . . to promote the General Good . . . & endeavor as good Citizens of said Commonwealth to keep & maintain the Laws . . . and promote Religion & good order against the factions & prejudice . . . suportaive of self will . . . To take the advantage of the bill of rights & of said Constitution than to exculpate them from paying any Ministerial tax, to any Denomination . . . . Some of the signers of said petition have said that if they are obliged to pay any Ministerial tax, they are as willing to pay it to the said settled Minister . . . We the subscribers in behalf of the Town of Edgecomb humbly pray etc.. . . (The last sentence) that the prayer of the said Baptist petition may not be granted.
Signed Moses Davis, Thomas Ring, William Clefford, Committee.
In the House of Represent Jany 20, 1802 Read & committed to the standing committee on applications for incorporation of Parishes to hear the parties & report Sent up for concurrence Edw. W. Rollins Spek. In Senate, Jany 20th 1802 Read and concurred David Cobb Preside.
A list of the names of the Baptist Society in Edgecomb March 14, 1804
Samuel Webber, Samuel Dunton, Jordan Tarbox, David Bailey, Joseph Hodgdon, Thomas Hodgdon Jr., Benjm. Hodgdon Jr., Thos. Hodgdon 3rd, Chas. S. Brooks, Saml. Tarbox, Westbrook Knight, Samuel Dunton, John Hodgdon, Daniel Dunton, Capt. John Hodgdon, Andrew Dunton, Timothy Knight, Peter Dunton, William Harrington, Stephen Parsons, John Dunton Jr., Moses Welch, John Knight, Stephen Greenleaf, Westbrook Greenleaf, Stephen Greenleaf, Jr., Jotham Parsons, Joshua Fowles, Nathaniel Greenleaf, Samuel Greenleaf, Zebulon Greenleaf, John Neal, Jacob Webber, Stephen Dunton, John Poole, Timothy Cunningham, Thos. Cunningham, Amos Baker, John Bray Deering, David Deering, Benjm. Albee, Joseph Brown, Moses Brown, James Brown, David Webber, Rueben Alley, Benjm. Dun-ton, William Lanison, Asa Hutchins, Andrew Trask, Nathan Gove Jr., Ruggles Cunningham, John Ryan, John Cunningham, Isaac Cunningham, Thos. Sweatt, William Patterson, Edward Emerson, William Emerson, Nathaniel Winslow, Henry Williams, Jno. Merrow, Samuel Merrow, Briggs Howland, Solm. Burnham, David Webber Jr., Elijah Brown, Joseph Huff, Moses Trask. Daniel Hibbard-Teaching Elder, Timothy Cunningham Teacher, John Ryan Clerk.
Quote from Audrey Chase from Eben Chase's diary: "Sunday May 17, 1874 the Baptist church burned night before last." This would be Friday May 15. The Church was rebuilt and dedicated March 9, 1876. The first Sabbath School organized in 1836 containing 60 scholars & 10 teachers. In 1785 the church was organized with 30 members. Dec. 3, 1803 met at Brother Elisha Sherman's. 1804, May 10, met at Br. Thomas Sweat's house; 1804, Jan. 5, meeting in Boothbay; 1807, Apr. 9, may have met at a school house; 1841, Feb. Sat. 13th, M. Sherman excludes from Church; 1875, New Church rebuilt. A rum nuisance (said report found untrue) Nathan Gove & James Philbrick Baptist Church investigating. A sister informing another sister (name not copied) of her unchastity puting the Church under painful necessity to amputate her from the church body. In another case (no names copied) for lewd behavior to appear at next meeting in 1845 to exclude him of a law suit displinary to church fellowship. She & he (name not copied) to much intimacy-when questioned she refused-had her name erased from Church record.
Lincoln County News. Aug. 28, 1874; The Ladies Aid Society in Edgecomb are to have a "shore gathering" at the Old Fort next Wednesday. The usual amount of "good Stuff" will be offered for sale. The proceeds are to be used for rebuilding the Baptist Church.
Sept. 18, 1874; The Free Will Baptist Church recently burned at Edgecomb is to be rebuilt.Not verified: Some time some of the Baptist became involved with the Methodist church in Sheepscot and we know from Eben's diary that when there was no church in Edgecomb he attended the Methodist Church on Westport.
A deed from Isaac Pool to the Baptist Church is recorded in Wiscasset in Book 239 Page 40. Following legislative action on all petitions from Daniel Hibbard, and others, are the words "have leave to withdraw." Nov. 29, 1876. The Free Will Baptist church is now without a pastor. There were nine added to the church by
baptism on the 19 inst. Nov. 16, Rev. D. C. Wheeler tendered his resignation as pastor, which was accepted. There was a horse shed (for three or four horses) on the north side of the church.
We hope to have more information on the church, its property, ministers and associations. Thelma M. Chubbuck (Mrs. Kenneth T. Chubbuck) is collecting any material on the church that may be available. Her address is Box 209, N. Edgecomb, Me. 04556, tel. 882-7140
Deed to land of Baptist church from the original deed in the possession of Beulah Reed Lamsom.
Copy of the handwriting, which is very faint.
I Isaac Pool of Edgecomb in the County of Lincoln, State of Maine, yeoman, forty dollars to me paid by the town of Edgecomb.
Freewill Baptist Society in said Edgecomb a certain piece or parcial of land situated in said Edgecomb-Bounded a follows: viz: Beginning on the west side of the town road at a corner of the wall adjoining land of Joseph Clark thence westerly as the wall runs to the stone wall that runs southerly thence southerly by said wall and land of the said Joseph Clark to land of Abiel Gove thence easterly by the said Gove land to the road aforesaid thence Northerly by said road to the bound first mentioned containing about one acre more or less and being the same land on wich the Freewill Baptist Meeting House now stands and is occupied for that use. This is Warrantee Deed. Signed by Isaac Pool the thirteenth day of February 1863. Joseph Merry, Justice of the Peace.
From Early Edgecomb, Vol 1, p.26, by Katherine Chase Owen
A Copy of a Warrant Deed in consideration of $20. Jan. 19, 1871 "a certain piece of land, situated in North Edgecomb, and South Newcastle, and bounded as follows, namely, beginning at the Southeast corner, from the County road running westerly by the road seventy feet to a stake or stone, thence Northerly ninety-five feet: thence Easterly seventy feet to the old road: thence Southerly eighty feet to the first mentioned bound. Containing one half acre, more or less, for the purpose of erecting a Chapel and Hall on said land for religious and other purposes. Signed by John Adams
Another deed in book 250 "William C. Patterson, Charles B. Dodge and John Adams, for the Sewing Circle conveyed said premises to Joseph Dunton, Charles B. Dodge and George W. Field, Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the U.S. of America, together with the chapel now erected on said land to be held by the above named Trustees for Religious purposes, and in signing this deed we the above named Wm. C. Patterson, Dodge and Adams, act for and in the name of the Union Sewing Society and aggreeable to a vote of said Society held by them (legally called) December 24, 1872, at any time said Chapel is not occupied by the Methodist Society the same shall be open to the worship for the Baptist or Congregational Societies, also to include the Free Will Baptist Society." Dated Jan. 7, 1873.On the assumption of these two deeds one might say that the Chapel was built in 1872. We are certain of this that the Chapel was primarily built by the Union Sewing Society, the bell was donated by Parker Dodge and the organ given to the Chapel by Mr. Hodge.
According to Conference minutes, Methodist meetings were held as early as 1869. Ministers serving were: Wm Brown 1869-70, George Winslow '71-'72, Benjamin Arey '73-'74, D. M. True '75, Moses Prescott '76-'78, S. L. Hanscom '79-'80, J. R. Clifford '81-'83, J. A. Morelen '84-'85, T. R. Pentecost '86-'90, Chas. Rogers '90-'92, M. S. Preble '93, Frank Brooks '94-'95, W. A. Meservey '96-'98, A. E. Morris '99-1900. It is interesting to note that the mailing address for most ministers was Sheepscott Bridge.
It is said that the pulpit was in Newcastle and the congregation in Edgecomb. There is a hall on the second floor where social activities were held. At the north end of the building were horse stalls and on either side were rails to hitch the horses.
There should be mention of this church in the Second Volume of "Early Edgecomb"
From Early Edgecomb, Vol 1, p.29, by Katherine Chase Owen