the absence of a majority of the members of said court ; but at
the next nu'cting, those who ordained him. Rev. Mr. Moorehead,
of Federal-street Church, Boston, and Rev. Mr. Harvey, of
Palmer, Mass., were inquired of by Rev. Mr. Dunlap and others
wfiy they did ordain him in the absence of the majority, and the
Presbytery refused him a seat. His ordination was admitted to
be lawful, but irregular. As he was refused a seat, the ordainers
stood on their dignity, and Moorehead being moilerator, left the
house, accompanied by Harvey and McGregor. Moorehea<l and
Harvey refusing to return without McGregor, and the others
refusing to receive him, the strife became so bitter that the
majority suspended Moorehead and Harvey. They for years had
no Presbytery until, about 1743-4, Rev. Ralph Abercrombie came
from Scotland, received a call from Pelham, Mass., was ordaim-d
by a council, of Avhich, besides Moorehead and Harvey, was the
Rev. Jonathan Edwards and others. Mr. Abercrombie, having
l)een licensed by a Pi-esbytery in Scotland, was desirous of con-
tinuing a Presbyterian in Pelham, and on consultation with
Moorehead and McGregor, they having found their congregations
favorably disposed, did on thi' third Wednes(biy of March, 1745,
observe a day of fasting and prayer in view of their assuming
piesbyterial responsibilities. The three ministers, with their
elders, diil at the appointed time adopt the Westminster stand-
ards and constitute the court. It would probably have been
called the Presbytery of Londonderry, but that would produce
confusion, so they called it the Boston Presbytery. It began in
1745, at one time develo]>ed into a synod with three Presbyteries,
Salem, Mass., Londonderry, N. H., and Palmer, Mass., and in less
than eight years it was contracted into the Presbytery of Salem,
and expired about .or near 1793."
In May, 1794, was formed a union of the associated reforme<l
Presbytery of Londonderry, and of the Eastern Presbytery. This
body was called the Presbytery of Londonderry. This title it
l - \;
HlSrOKY OF WIMMIAM IN NKW H.VMrSlUKK.
retaiuod till lSOi>. On Nov. I'J, lSOi\ the branohos of the Pivs-
bvtÂ«.'ri:\n Chureh called the Old and JVVir schools, reunited, and
through the influence of Rev. James B. Punn, of Boston, this
presbvterv was unfortunately and improperly called the Boston
Presbytery, and this name it still retains.
lu iS79, there existed in the six Xew England States thirty-
tive or thirty-*ix Presbyterian churches, one half of which were
The yearly salary of Kev. Mr. "Willian\s '" was Â£70, which in
value was ^â€¢ioo.oo, "besides a settlement of Â£60, or ^:200, with the
use of the parsonage, and paying the expenses of his removal.
His ministry continued twenty-seven years, until Xov. 10, 1703,
when he died, .^ged 04 yeai-s.
" During his ministiy the following were ordained ruling
elders : â€”
" The meeting-house, though built, was not at once finished ;
and at a meeting of the parish, Jan. i\ 1772, it was voted to tiuish
l>'su>E View of Cuvkch. with Sol'sdixo-boulkd qvek the Ptlpit.
â€¢Fn>m letter of Rev. Alexander Blnikie, i>. n.. author of " llislon- of
Presbyterianism in New Eiwrland." be.^ritt^ dat^ <â€¢>"' ' i^"'>
FIIJST CIIUKCH AT THK (KN'TIIK <Â»F WINIlllAM, IT'.tH. 127
tlie house above and Itclow by erecting j)0ws in it, agreeably to a
plan exliibited that day by a committee appointed for tlie purpose.
Also, March IH, 177'2, it was voted to 'joice, lathe, and plaster it.'
And Sept. 12, 177G, it was voted ' to rejiair the session house.'
The foregoing cut gives a pretty clear idea of the high square
pews and the elevated pulpit in the old meeting-house, from
which with "solemn look" the clergymen of Windham looked
down upon their listening flock and expounded to them the Word
of Life. Over the pulpit is the " sounding-board," which was
found in nearly all " meeting-houses " formerly. There was one
in ihf first meeting-house "on the hill," but not in the old meet-
ing-house at the centre of the town.
" But soon after the death of Mr. Williams, in 1793, the question
of building a new meeting-house at a moie central and convenient
point than the place where this house stood was raised, and the
agitation of this question produced such contention as not only
to delay the settlement of another pastor, but to lead to a sejiara-
tion of some of the families from the congregation resi<ling in the
southeast ])art of the town and vicinity, in consequence of the
decision to built a new meeting-house near the cejitre of the town.
This was what is now our town-house, which was built in 1798."
It was raised July 5, 1798. The first sermon was preached in it,
May 18, 1800, by Rev. William Mon-ison, d. d., of Londonderry.
"From 1793 to 1805, the ordinances were occasionally adminis-
tered, and j)rovision was made for the preaching of the Gospel;
but there was no step taken to obtain a pastor until the 4th of
June, 1805, when the town presented a call to Mr. Samuel Harris,
and he was ordained ])astor of the church by the Londonderry
Presbytery, the 9th of October following, with a salary of Â§400
and a small settlement. Just before his ordination the parsonage
was sold, and the avails vested in a permanent fund for the sup-
]>oit of the ministry. His relation as pastor continued until Dec.
(), 1826, or a little more than twenty-one years, when he was dis-
missed in consequence of losing his voice; but afterwards recov-
ering it, lie supplied in other places, but resided in town until his
death, Sejtt. 5, 1848, aged 74 years. Mr. Harris was respected
and beloved by his people, and successful in his ministry. The
church, through his instrumentality, was brought to a higher stand-
ard of piety and Christian discipline, and in 1822 was blessed
with a i)Owerful revival of religion, the first general revival that
had occurred in town. During his ministry, sixty-eight were
added to the church, and eleven to the eldership, namely, â€”
David Grefi:^. Jesse Anderson. James W. Perkins.
James Davidson. Samuel Davidson. Jacob E. Evans.
William Davidson. Jacob P. .Johnson. David McCleary.
John Davidson. Eleazer Barrett.
" Feb. 6, 1828, the church and society extended a call to Rev.
Calvin Cutler to become their pastor, and he was installed over
them April 9, 1828, with a salary of 8450. His pastoral relation
128 HISTORY OF WINDHAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
to them continued until his death, whicli occurred Feb. 17, 1844,
in the fifty-third year of his age. During these sixteen years of
his ministry with his i)eople, he labored vigorously and sticcess-
fully to advance the interests of religion. Members of this ilock,
still living, speak of him as a man of strong mind, earnest pur-
pose, and devoted piety, and as a preacher who gave them strong
meat as well as milk for their spiritual nourishment. In 1881
there was a powerful I'evival of religion in connection with a ])ro-
tracted meeting. It was estimated that one hundred persons were
the subjects of this work. One liundred and sixty-two were
received to this church during Mr. Cutler's ministry, of wliom
one hundred and thirty-five were by profession. Of these, sixty
were received at one time. In 1833 a division of feeling arost' in
the town in regard to the use of the meeting-house and ministerial
fund, known as the ' Wilson Fund,' which resulted in the with-
di'awal of the church and society from the old house, and in the
erection of a new one, â€” the one in which we now worshij), which
was built in 1834 [raised June 27-29], and which is secured by
deed to tlie use of the Presbyterian Church and Society in Wind-
ham." This house was de'dicated Jan. 14, 1835, and the dedica-
tion sermon was pi-eached by Rev. Mr. Cutler. Text, Ps. Ixv. 1.
" Mr. Cutler ordained the following-named persons as ruling
elders : â€”
Samuel Anderson. Silns Moor. Joseph Park.
Jacol) Harris. David Cauipi)ell. Theodore Dinsiuoor.
Jonathan Cochran. Benjamin Blaiicharil. Kei Hills.
David A. Davidson.
His impress on the people was evidently a marked one, as he is
spoken of as greatly respected and beloved by them. His interest
in the cause of temperance and of Sabbath schools, as well as in
the line of other Chi'istian efforts, a])pears in the records of the
session, and is remembered by those still living.
" After Mr. Cutler's death, there was preaching by sujiplies one
year and eight months, when on Nov. 5, 1845, Mr. Loren Thayer
was ordained as his successor, with a salary of $500, having
received a call from this church and society, Aug. '23 of that year.
Like most of his predecessors in the pastoral office, his ministry
continued with this i)eoplt' while he was able to i>erform tlie duties
of a pastor. After a ])astorate of more than twenty years, his
relation was dissolved April 25, 1800, in consequence of disease
that terminated in his death Se])t. 10, 1800, at tlie age of fifty-ft)ur
yeai"S, and he lies buried among his own |Â»eople, as is true of his
three ])redecessor8. The memory of Mr. Thayer is too fresli in
the minds of this peo|>le to need any particular description of his
character and ministry, on this occasion. But you cherish his
memory as a pastor, respected and beloved, who labored long and
faithfully for your spiritual welfare and tliat of those who have
passed away with him. He laboretl in faith for many years before
seein<c a general revival of religion in connection with his minis-
RKPAIUING THE CHURrH, 1874, 129
try. But tliis he was j)ennitte(l to witness in 1864. During this
revival there were one luinclred inquirers at a single meeting. As
fruits of it, about fifty were received to the church at a following
communion. The whole number reci'ived to the church duiing
Mr. Thayer's ministry is one hundred and fifty; one hundred and
eighteen by profession and thirty-two by letter; and one elder
was addi'd to the eldership, viz. Samuel Campl)ell.
" Afti'r an interval of more than a year in stated sup])lit'S, the
church and society extended a call, Jan. 20, 1S68, to Mr. Joseph
Lanman to l)ecome their pastor, who was installed over them
June 2, 1808, with a salary of >!800 and use of a parsonage, to be
built. A convenient and pleasant house for this purpose was
accordingly built in 18G8, at an expense of some more than three
thousand dollars." The building committee were John Campbell,
Joseph C. Armstrong, and George W. Weston. " Mr. Lanman's
ministry commenced aus]Â»iciously, but after laboring nearly four
years, he resigned Dec. 25, 1871, and was dismissed Feb. 6, 1872.
During his ministry ten were received to the church, of whom
eight were by profession. The ])ulpit was then sujiplied by differ-
ent ministers, until the present pastor [Charles Packard] was
called, March 10, 1873, and installed April 29, 1873, with a salary
of >!800 and the use of the parsonage."
At the annual meeting of the Presbyterian Religious Society
in A])ril, 1874, it was voted to make thorough rejiairs of the
church. Dea. Samuel Camjibell, William C. Harris, and William
D. Cochran were chosen a repair committee. Their labors were
â– commenced the following September, and the work was consum-
mated at an outlay of S2,G00, so that the house was rededicated
Dec. 29, 1874. Rev. Charles Packard delivered the sermon, and
a hymn, written by Kev. W. R. Cochrane, of Antrim, Avas sung
by the choir of sixteen voices. The house was filled by an r.ppre-
ciative audience, and the exercises were of an interesting nature.
A beautiful chandelier, with side lamps for the pulpit, and settees
and lamps for the choir, ]turchased at a cost of one hundred and
eighty-seven ilollars by the absent sons and daughters of Wind-
ham, were, in behalf of the donors, presented by Mr. Isaac A.
Cochran, <Â»f Melrose, Mass., who stated that this " was a work of
love." A resolution of thanks was passed, which was voted to
be recorded on the record book of the society with the names of
" It is a remarkable coincidence, that just one year after a
religious interest was develoj>ed in connection with a visit of a
committee of the Young Men's Christian Association, that led
on during the weeks and months that followed, in the beginning
pf 1876, to a general and powerful revival of religion. That visit
of Dec. 28-30 will not soon be forgotten, nor will the meetings
and scenes that followed. That cloud of mercy that rested down
upon us; that outpouring of the Sj>irit; that flock of inquiring
souls, more than sixty of whom gained light, and hope, and
130 HISTORY OF WINDHAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
strength as Christians ; tliose precious seasons of Christian com-
munion and nearness to Christ and heaven, we renu'niber still.
Nor will they ever be forgotten by those who witnessed them,
still less by those who were personally interested in them. How
cheering to those who had borne for so many years the burden
and heat of the day, as well as to the ])astor of the flock; and
how blessed to all who were the subjects of the work !
" The cause of Sabbath schools has also enlisted a dee]) interest
from its earliest history among us. The first Sabbath school in
â€¢town w^as organized in connection with Mr. Harris's ministry, the
previous custom of teaching the children the catechism by the
pastor as w^ell as ])arents, assuming the Sabbath-school form in
"But it was 'the day of small things' with this as with other
things. Beginning wnth the children, as did Robert Raikes, who
founded Sabbath schools, the pioneers in this cause laid such foun-
dations that they have gradually grown into their present com-
manding proportions and importance. After the children, then
it was the youth who should be found in the Sabbath school,
although at first many, as some do now, rei)elled the idea as if
too old. Then it included adults, both old and young, as if none
were too old or too wise to learn still moi-e of the deep things
and the all-important things of God's Word. And now we see all
classes joined in the social study of the Scri]itures; and more
than this, all Sabbath schools in the land studying the same lesson
on the same Sabbath !
"The Sabbath school beginning in Windham during Mr.
Harris's ministry, was ardently sustained under that of Mr. Cut-
ler, and has been growing in favor and numbers and success under
successive ministers and superintendents, and is in a ]>rosi>erous
condition at tlu' present time. Few congregations have a largi'r
percentage of the whole number in the Sabbath school, than has
our own. It is ])leasant to see so few turning from it, when the
morning sei-vice is ended; it would be still more jileasant to see
none, but all rather taking seats as scholars, to learn that WMsdom
from above that will make one truly wise. As evidence of the
great value that attaches to a connection with the Sabbath school,
is the fruit of the Sabbath school, as well as other religious train-
ing, in the early jtiety and Christian character of so many of its
members. How large a percentage of converts to Christ do revi-
vals, and even individual cases show, come from the Sabbath
" Sei)t. 14, 1829, I find the following record of a meeting of the
session: 'After consultation on the low state of singing in the
congregation. Voted, that it is exj)edient to adopt some measures
to revive sacreil music' What measures were ado])tt'd I do not
learn ; but this shows, by contrast with our j)resent singing, what
progress has l)een made in sacred music by those who have led
our devotions in singing during the nearly fifty years that have
DISSOLUTION OF ([lURCFI AXD STATE. 131
passed sinct' this entry was made. It is well known in the towns
around, as well as by ourselves, to what excellence our choir for
church singing have attained ; and I refer t<t it, not in the spirit
of H:ittery or pride, but as one of the improvements of the cen-
tury to this peojile, for which ]>raise is due to God.
"Objects of Christian l)enevolence have not always received
that measure of regard that is due them. Some years the
amount contributed has exceeded S300, but more commonly has
fallen below that amount, and in later years has been less than
|!20(). Many, who have formerly given the most liberally, have
died or removed from town, and their places have not been filled.
But according as the people have means, we trust the children
will imitate the example of the fathers in the grace of liberality
as well as in other graces, and not only so, but abound in it, as
the Apostle exhorts us to do. Of the fathers who devised liberal
things, mention should here be made of Jeremiah Hills, who left
a ministerial fund of >!2,000, and a church-repair fund of Â§1,000;
of the mothers, more recently, 8100 were left for the ministerial
fund by Mrs. Harriet l)insmoor; this in addition to nearly 82,000
left by .Tames Wilson of Londonderry for the same [lurpose, in the
infancy of the town."
The pastorate of Eev. Charles Packard was closed by his death,
Feb. 20, 1881. It was one of eminent usefulness, and he died
beloved and lamented by the people of the church and town.
During his ministry fifty-three were added to the church, forty-
three by profession ; and twenty-seven joined in May, 1876. The
number of members of the church at the present time is one
hundred and thirty-eight ; males forty-five, females ninety-three.
The number in 1826 was one hundred and seven ; males thirty-
three, females seventy-four; increase in fifty years, thirty-one.
The number at one time was as high as two hundred. During
the pastorate of jNlr. Packard three persons were ordained ruling
elders, Dec. 26, 1878, namely, William C. Harris, Horace Ander-
son, and William D. Cochran.
In addition to the notice prepared by Rev. Charles Packard,
the following information is given in relation to it and its officers.
The Sabbath school was commenced in 1817, during the minis-
try of Rev. Mr. Harris. Previous to 1832, a Sabbath-school
society was formed, with constitution and by-laws, and superin-
tendents, teachers, and other offict-rs were elected year by yeai'.
A valuable library exists in connection with the school, of which
an account is given. '(See chapter on Libraries ) The Sabbath
school is in a thriving condition, and includes most of the con-
gregation. Since 1832, the following persons have acted as
superintendents : â€”
132 HISTORY OF WINDHAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Rev. Calvin Cutler, Dea; Jonathan Cochran, Dr. Milton Ward, 1832, '33,
"34, '35, '36, '37, '38, and these same officers are supposed to have
served till 1841.
Rev. Calvin Cutlei', Dea. Silas Moore, Jeremiah Morrison, 1841.
Rev. Calvin Cutler, Jeremiah Morrison, David Armstrong, 1842-43. Mr.
Cutler died in office.
Jeremiah Morrison, David Armstrong, Rei Hills, 1844-45.
Rev. Loren Thayer, JeiTuiiah Morrison, David Armstrong. The latter
removed from to\vn and was succeeded by Dr. Ira AVeston, 1840.
Rev. Loren Thayer, Jeremiah Morrison, Dr. Ira AVeston, 1847, '48, '49.
Rev. Loren Thayer, Jeremiah Morrison, Dea. Silas Moore, 1850, '51.
Rev. Loren Thayer, Jeremiah Morrison, Dea. Rei Hills, 1852, '53, '54, '55,
'56, '57, '58, '59, '60, '61, '62. Jeremiah Morrison died in office.
Rev. Loren Thayer, Dea. Rei Hills, Dea. Samuel Campbell, 1863, '64, '65,
Dea. Rei Hills, Dea. Samuel Campbell, 1868.
Rev. Joseph Lanman, Dea. Samuel Campbell, William C. Hari'is, 1869.
Dea. Samuel Campbell, Joseph P. Crowell. 1870, '71.
Benjamin E. Blanchard, Joseph P. Crowell, William C. Harris, 1872, '73,
'74, '75, '7(1, '77.
William C. Harris, William D. Cochran, Horace Anderson, 1878.
Dea. William C. Harris, Joseph P. Crowell, Dea. William D. Cochran.
1879, '80, '81.
Dea. William C. Harris, J. P. Crowell, and Dea. Horace .Vntlerson, 1882.
The number of teachers, 1882, is twenty-one ; scliolars, one
hundred and twenty.
DISSOLUTION OF CHURCH FROM STATE.
The year 1819 was an eventful one m the religious history of
the State. A new order of things was established in regard to
the support of religious institutions. In the progress of events
and advancement of public ojtinion, and as an expression of pub-
lic opinion, the "Toleration Act" was passed by the Legislature
of that year, and approved by the governor July 1, 1819. The
l)ublic mind had long been in a troubled condition under the
compulsory suj)port of the ministry.
The two important provisions of this law are here given : â€”
"Provided, that no persons shall be compelled to join or sup-
port, or be classed with, or associated to any congregation, church,
or religious society, without his consent lirst had and obtained ;
"Provided, also, if any person shall choose to separate himself
from such society or association to which he may belong, and
shall leave a written notice thereof with the clerk of such society
or association, he shall thereupon be no longer liable for any
future expenses which may be incurred by said society or associa-
This act i)ut an end to taxing an unwilling jieople by the town
for the support of the church. It stoj)])c'<l those endless bicker-
ings between churches and towns, and the amount contributed
for ))ublic worship was not diminished. It a|ipears that Wind-
ham as a town participated in church affairs till 1827, not taking
advanta<;e of the law.
Tin. (lion;. â€” namks ok its mkmbers. 133
iMarc'li 11>, 1S-J7, the Presbyterian Religions Society was
formed in town, in accordance with the Act of tlie Leo^islatnre
passed Jnly, ISli), which enabk'd any sect or denomination of
Christians to associate and establish rules and n-gulations and a
society, and have tlie corporate powers necessary to assess and
raise money upon the polls and ratable estate of its members, and
to collect and appi-()|>riate tlie same for religious jturposes. This
society has continued till the j)resent time.
Music has been a potent power in worship in all ages, and this
power has been recognized and made use of by the Christian
churcli. It is not likely that tin- science oi music was generally
understood by the Scotch settlers of Windham, but of course a
favored few were more or less acquainted with it. In other
Scotch settlements, there was a Scotch version of the Psalms,
which was used in public worship. It was not poetry, but the
Psalms were reduced to metre and rhyme with the smallest possi-
ble change from the Bible language. These psalms were printed
in most of the old Bibles, and were undoubtedly used in their
jtublic worship; they were certainly used in family worsliip
within the memory of some now living. The following is a
sample : â€”
"PSAOr XC." (ENGLISH VERSION.)
"Lonl, thou hast boon our dwelling-place in generations all.
Befcjre thou over liadst brouglit forth the mountains great or small :
Ere ever tiiou hadst formed tlie earth, and all the worlds abroad,
Ev'n thou from everlasting art to everlasting, God."
These psalms were superseded by the version of Dr. Watts,
which were sung in the old church at the head of the Range, as
they have been sung in our day. There was a choir then, as now,
composed of ladies and gentlemen.
The seats were placed lengthwise of the house, some on each
side; the ladies sat on one side, the gentlemen on the otlier, and
faced each other, and l)oth were immediately front of the pulpit.
On "communion days," one of the deacons would stand in
front of the congregation and read two lines of a hymn which
would be sung by the congregation, and so continue till the entire
hymn was sung. This was the general custom in earliest settle-
ment. One of the earliest remembered of these officiating dea-
cons was Dea. Robert Dinsmoor (" Rustic Bard " ). Deacon Dins-
moor was leader of the choir in " ye olden time."
The following named persons conducted at different periods :
John Hemphill, William Dinsmoor, William Gregg, Capt. Isaac
Cochran, William Davidson. Robert P. Dinsmoor conducted for
a long time. On the organization of the present choir, William
W. Gage was the first leader. Gilman D. Whittaker and Benja-
134 HISTORY OF WINDHAM IN NF.W HAMPSHIRE.
min F. Wilson each conducted for a wliile. Robert B. Jackson,
late of Reading, Mass., a fini- bass singer, was an efficient leader for
a number of years. He was succeeded by Benjamin E. Blanchard,
who has conducted most of the time till the present. The con-