Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of Durham, Maine; online

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Pelatiah Warren and

Job Syl-





0. Israel Bagley.



Stephen Weston.




Parson Herrick.



John Dean and Wm.




Joshua Strout.



Charles Hill and






Benjamin Vining.




uavia Uyer(.'') and




L'niversalist Church.



Samuel Nichols.



Micah Dyer.



John Gushing and Al

)el Curtis.



Dr. John Converse.



Joseph Proctor's Tavern.



Proprietor's House,

built by 82.




Jonathan Bagley,





Elijah Macomber.



Jonathan Strout.



Abel Stoddard.



Samuel Merrill, Will

am Stod-


dard, George Williams.



John Skinner,



Nichols, Jr.



Secomb Jordan.






Hugh Getchell.

Waitstill Webber.

Cornelius Douglas.

Caleb Estes.

Job Blethen, Josiah

Jonathan Beal.

James Blethen.

Christopher Tracy.

Ebenezer Woodbury.
. John Vining .
. William Cierrish.

104. Andrew Adams.

105. Ufin Vinin;;

106. Peter Mitchell.

107. Martin Rourk.

Day. 108. Nathan Lewis, Benjamin Os-

109. John Cushing.
no. John Hoyt.

111. Samuel Collins.

112. Israel Estes, Amos Knight.




At the first town meeting of Royalsborough, O. Israel
Bagley, William Gerrish and Stephen Chase were chosen a
committee for " Fixing a place for a ministerial (lot) and likewise
a place on said lot for a meeting House and burying yard. "

Feb. 9, 1775, the following proclamation was issued:

"To the Congregational Inhabitants of the Township of
Royalsborough. Whereas it is commanded unto all men to call
on the name of the Lord to confess their manyfold Sins and
Implore his divine assistance both for Spiritual and Temporal
blessings Publicly. So it is nessery that Some Public place of
Worship Should be provided and in providing it Every Person
Conserned ought to have a voice in the Providing the same and
it is appointed for all men once to die. So it is Incumbent on
every Person In time of life to provide a Proper Decent Place
for the reception of his body when so dead. And whereas the
Proprietors of the town who Expect to be at considerable Part
of the charge In building a place for Public worship are content
it Should be built on Mr. John Dean's lot and some of the
Inhabitants have begun to clear the ground therefor, but least
it should not be agreeable to the major Part of the Present
Inhabitants. This is to Desire them to meet on Thursday the
sixteenth day of Feb. Instant at one of the clock in the afternoon
at the Dwelling house of Mr. John Dean's in said Town to know
the minds of the Inhabitants if the said place is agreeable to them
if not to agree on and Clear Some Place more Sutible."
Jonathan Bagley in behalf of himself
and for the Proprietors."

Agreeably to the above call the Inhabitants voted, 16 Feb..
1775, that "the most Sutible place to build a meetmg house is
on the Hill to the Southward of Mr. Dean's house on his lot by
the County Road." It was also voted to allow Mr. Dean two
dollars per acre for the gore of land lying between the County
Road and the road that leads to Micah Dyer's "from the Croch
oi the Road to the Spruce tree to the North of the Hill." It
included nine acres. Voted to cut the trees on said land before


March next. Stephen Hart, Eenj. Vining and Charles Gerrish
were a Committee to see that the land be cleared.

March 25, 1776, Voted one day's work on burying ground,
O. Israel Bagley to have charge of the work.

July 30, 1776, Voted "to hire the Gospel Minister three
months to preach the Gospel Amongst us." Major Charles
Gerrish and Ebenezer Roberts were a Committee to hire a
preacher. Voted that he preach at the house of Eliot Frost.

There is no further record pertaining to church matters
during the next three years. Meanwhile the proprietors issued
proposals for the erection of a house of worship.

*' To the Gentlemen Selectmen of Royalsborough,

Proposals to build a Meeting House in Royalsborough Vizt.
To be about the same Dimentions as Brunswick meeting house,
to be glaized with sash Glass. The Inhabitants to find the
Frame raise it and underpin it, also Boards Clapboards and
Shingles Sufficient for that purpose. The workmanship Nails
and Glass to be done at the Expense of the Proprietors out of the
money ariseing by the sail of the setling Lotts. The Plastering
the inside, the Pulpitt, Deacon Seat, minister's Pew and one for
the Proprietors. The rest of the Pews and Seats at the Charge
of the Inhabitants. The Galleries to be built at the Charge of
the Proprietors except the seats. A Convenient Porch to be
erected at the Front Door in which the Stairs into the Galleries
are to be fixed. So Agreed to by the Committee of the
Proprietors. B^^l^y ^^^^ ^^^^3

December, 1776.

Recorded March ye loth, 1791.
These proposals were not at once acted upon, probably
because attention was diverted by the Revolutionary War and
financial burdens were heavy. It was not till Nov. 8, 1779 that
the Plantation voted "to get up a frame for the meeting house
the same Bigness of Brunswick meeting house by the last of
July next." Nothing seems to have been done. More than
one third of the men capable of bearing arms were in the army.
There is no record of any religious service for four years. June
22, 1780, O. Israel Bagley was chosen a committee to "hire a
minister of the gospel to preach with this town six weeks."
There is no record of the result. Sept. 12, 1780, the building
of the meeting house was again agitated and it was voted to build
it. O. Israel Bagley was chosen "overseer to See it built."
Major Gerrish, Benjamin Vining and Hugh Getchell were a


committee to "see that the hous is Dun," and to sell or vendue
thirty-five pews. These committees did not do as instructed.
The proprietors thought to hasten both the building of the
church and, what was still more desired by them, the incorpora-
tion of the town, by sending, by the hand of their secretary, the
following letter, which was of such historic value as to be spread
upon the Town Records :

Boston, Sept. 29, 1781.


Coll. Little in his Journey to Royalsborough Carried down
with him a rough Draught of a Petition for the Inhabitants by
their Committee to be appointed for that purpose to present to
the General Court that you may be incorporated into a Township
that you may be vested with the powers and Privileges other
towns enjoy. I hope you will approve the same or correct said
Draught as you Judge proper. Till you are incorporated it will
be in vain to attempt any thing as to building a meetinghouse
and Setling a minister because what you may do to effect this
cant be carried into Execution for want of power. I hope you
are sensible of the grate advantage the Settlement of the Gospell
among you will be to your own true Interest as to both worlds.
If any sett of men settled among should be indifferent or
averse to this they must be left to their own way, yet while they
enjoy this liberty they ought not to deprive others of this Liberty
they claim for themselves, this would be unreasonable on their
part. I recommend to you mutual Love and Concord in trans-
acting your affairs as it will tend to promote your own happiness.
I have sent you the proposals on the part of the Proprietors what
they are willing to do towards the Meeting-house and the settle-
ment of a minister among you ; and what they expect from the
Inhabitants, which hope will be Acceptable, it lies with you to
forward your Incorporation by applying to the Court for that
purpose ; if you will please send up this Petition to me I will
take care to get it accomplished, I make no doubt it will be
granted. I am Gentlemen

your Friend and Servant

Belcher Noyes.

This brought matters to a conclusion, and, early in 1782,
between O. Israel Bagley, evidently acting as agent for the
proprietors, and the committee chosen in 1780 a contract was
made for the building of the old North Church. The bond has
been preserved and is here reproduced verbatim :

"Know all men by these Presents, that we Charles Gerrish,
Esq., Benjamin Vining, Yoman & Hugh Getchel Yoman All of


Royalsborough in the County of Cumberland and Common-
welth of Massachusetts, am holden and Stand firmly bound to
O. Israel Bagley of S'd Royalsborough in the County aforesaid
gent'n in four Hundred Pound LawfuU money to Be Paid to the
S'd O. Israel Bagiey or his Certain Attorney, Executors Admin-
istrator or Assigns. To the which Payment well and truly to
he made we bind our Selves our heir Executors and
Administrators Jointly and Severally firmly by these presents.
Sealed with our Seals, Dated the twenty-first day of February,
Annoque Domini, 1782.

The Condition of this Obligation is such that if the Above
bounden Charles Garish Benjamin Vining & Hugh Getchel or
ither of them their heirs Executors or Administrators Do provide
and Git Timber for a meetinghouse for the Plantation Royals-
borough aforesaid, of Fifty feet in Length and forty five m
breadth and higtli in Proportion, and Fraim and Raise the Same
upon the Land Purchased by the Inhabitants of the S'd
Plantation for that use Also under Pin the house with Stone,
Provide Boards Clap Bords And Shingles Sofitient to Cover the
Same, which Articles are to be Good and fitting for the use
aforeS'd, to be on the Spot whereS'd house is to be built. Also
Execute a Good Warrattee Deed to Each Parson that has or
may Purchase a spot for a Pew in S'd house At on or Before
the Last Day of September Next Ensewing the Date hereof then
this Obligation to be Void and of None Effect, or Else to Stand
and remain full force and Virtue.

Signd, Sealed and Delivered, Charles Gerrish

in Presents of Benja. Vining

E. Newell hugh Gatchel

Nath. Garish

It is evident that the building of the meeting-house was begun
in 1782. March 3, it was voted to hire a minister two months
and to confirm the sale of the pews sold by the committee.
Preaching for three months was voted in the years following
except 1784 when the people decided " not to hire any preaching
this year. '" Theie are no records for 1787-8. In 1789 eighteen
pounds were voted for the support of the Gospel, and Joshua
Strout, Joseph Davis and Enoch Bagley were chosen a
committee to see the meeting-house finished.

How much we would like to know who ministered to the
spiritual needs of our forefathers during these early years.
Probably they were the ministers of the neighboring towns of
North Yarmouth, Brunswick, Portland, and New Gloucester,
logether with some itinerant evangelist. Bagley's Account


Book contains a memorandum that Mr. Prince came home with
him one Sunday from "Herysicate" (Freeport) and preached at
Bagley's house Feb. 23, 1774. This is the first recorded reHgious
service in Royalsborough. The Rev. Tristram^ Oilman of North
Yarmouth Foreside preached in Royalsborough 6 Mch. 1777 and
baptized " Richard, son of Robinson Crockett ; Deborah, daugh-
ter of Stephen Randall ; all of Royalston, in cov't with ye ch. of
Cape Elizabeth." Pie records in his church register that
Sept. 4, 1785 he lectured "at a plaec called Royals-Town and
baptized Deborah, dau. of John Parker ; Dorothy, dau. of Capt.
Joshua Strout of Cape Elizabeth ; Zebulon, son of Samuel York ;
Samuel, son of Sarah, dau. of John Davis, Jr. of Brunswick
church ; James, son of Capt. Nichols." These are the earliest
recorded baptisms in Royalsborough. The service was, doubt-
less, in the church which had recently been erected.

May 8, 1790 the town voted to employ the Rev. Abraham
Cummings to " preach The Gospel to the amount of eighteen
pounds this year. " Rev. Abraham Cummings was born in
Andover, Mass., in 1755. He graduated at Brown University in
1776, and became an open Communion Baptist minister. He
was a man of great learning being proficient in seven languages.
He was an itinerant missionary. In 1781 he married Phoebe
Thayer of Old Braintree, Mass., whose mother was a grand-
daughter of John Alden and Priscilla. They had two sons who
left no issue and a daughter Phoebe who married Isaac H. Bailey.
Mr. Cummings moved to Freeport about 1788. In a small sail-
boat he made evangelistic excursions all along the coast from
Passamaquoddy to Rhode Island. He had an extensive revival
at Bath in 1793. He was an ardent student of philosophy and
astronomy and often w'as lost in revery. He published several
works, the most important being "Contemplations on the
Cherubim," 1812. He was a social man and used to tell that
down on Penobscot Bay the mosquitoes were so large that "a.
good many of them would weigh a pound" and "they would
frequently get up on the trees and bark." He had no fixed
salary but lived on the voluntary contributions of the people.
He died at Phipsburg 31 Aug. 1827, aged 73 years. His tomb-

'The Rev. Tristram Oilman was pastor of the church at North Yar-
mouth from Dec. 8, 1769 till his death April i, 1809. Cf. Old Times in
North Yarmouth, pp. 713, 857, 903.


stone, near Popham's Landing, has this epitaph, "A pious,
Learned and Faithful minister of the Gospel." ^

The next year no money was raised for preaching. May
7, 1792 it was voted to "apply to Mr. Clark for a preacher the
present year. " This was probably the Rev. Ephraim Clark,
minister at Cape Elizabeth, 1756-97, many of whose flock
migrated about this time to Durham. Before Mr. Clark's
services were needed the Rev. Eliphaz Chapman appeared in
Durham. It is evident that he was known before July 26, 1792,
for then the town voted to hire him as a preacher, and Nov. 9
confirmed the vote by engaging him for one year. He stayed
two years, as the ten marriages performed by him show. The
last , was solemnized Nov. 20, 1794, and he signs himself
" Eliphaz Chapman ordained Minister of the Gospel now
Stationed at Durham." Fifty pounds were voted for his support,
and June 9, 1794 thirty pounds w;ere voted "to build the Pulpit."

Eliphaz Chapman was born in Newmarket, N. H., March 7,
1750. He preached at Madbury 1770-3 and afterward at
Methuen, Mass. He settled on the north side of the Andro-
scoggin river at Bethel, Maine. The farm still remains in the
Chapman family. "He was a very useful man in the new town.
He solemnized many of the early marriages, and judging from
the number of children named after him he must have been
very popular." He died Jan. 20, 1814. His wife Hannah
(Jackman of Newbury) died Dec. 15, 1839, aged 92 years. His
sister Mary married Col. James Rogers of Freeport, and this
may account for his introduction to Durham. He was great
grandfather to Prof. Henry Leland Chapman of Bowdoin
College. At least three other descendants of his name have
graduated at Bowdoin College.

It seems that the Rev. Jacob Herrick preached in Durham
in the summer of 1795, for in September the town voted "to
employ Rev. Mr. Herrick longer," and Nov. 7 of the same year
it was decided to "settle Rev. Mr. Herrick" by a vote of thirty-
seven to seven. Jan. 7, 1796 his salary was fixed at fifty pounds
besides a hundred acres of land given by the proprietors.
Ebenezer Roberts, Nathaniel Osgood, and William True were
chosen a committee to send for the new minister. The time of

^See Old Times in North Yarmouth, pp. 1005-11.


From :i Painting made when he was an Adjutant in the
Revolulionarj' Army.


ordination was fixed for March 9, 1796, and the following
ministers were chosen by the town to participate in the services,
"Revs. Eaton, Lancaster, Oilman. Johnson, Coffin and Keylock
(Kellogg). 1

There lies before me the account of the ordmation, preserved
in the handwriting of Rev. Samuel Eaton, Secretary of the
Ecclesiastical Council. He says that they met at the house of
Capt. O. Israel Bagley and chose the Rev. Dr. Samuel Deane of
Portland moderator, who seems to have taken the place of Elijah
Kellogg. After prayer by the Moderator "a competent number
of male persons offered themselves to be embodied into a Chh,
state, who having given themselves to God & to one another, &
set their Names to a Gospel Covenant, were by a vote of the
afores'd Council acknowledged to be a Sister Congregational
Chh of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom we are in full Charity
and Fellowship." At the ordination which immediately
followed in the church, the Rev. Alfred Johnson made tha
introductory prayer ; the Rev. Ephriam Clark of Cape Elizabeth
made the ordaining prayer ; the Rev. Samuel Eaton gave the
charge, and the Rev Ebenezer Coffin gave the right hand of
fellowship and made the concluding prayer.

The address of the Rev. Mr. Coffin has been preserved
among the papers of Parson Plerrick. It was as follows : —

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to
dwell together in unity. In Immitation of the author of our
Redemption, the Finisher of our Faith, the Foundation of our
hope — it becomes all his Followers to cultivate a Spirit of Love
and Friendship. To this end the first preachers of the Gospel
pledged their Love, Friendship and kindness (to those who were
called to the sacred work of the Gospel Ministry) by the
significant sign of giving them the right [hand] Thus James

^Samuel Eaton was ordained at Harpswell Oct. 24, 1764 and died
there Nov. 5, 1822, aged 85 years.

Thomas Lancaster was ordained at Scarborough Nov. 8, 1775 and
died there Jan. 12, 1831, aged 87 years.

Tristram Oilman has been already mentioned.

Alfred Johnson was ordained at Freeport Dec. 29, 1789, and discharged
Sept. II, 1805. He afterward preached at Belfast and died there Jan. 12,
1837, aged 70 years.

Ebenezer Coffin was ordained at Brunswick June 23, 1794, and
discharged in 1802.

Elijah Kellogg, Senr. was ordained at Portland Oct. i, 1788 and
discharged Dec. 11, 181 1. He died at Portland, March 9, 1842, aged 82


Cephas and John, when they perceived the Grace that was given
unto Paul, gave unto him and Barnabas the Right hand of
Fellowship. In conformity to their example and the direction of
the venerable council here convened I present unto you, my
Brother in the faith, this right hand — By which we manifest our
esteem for your Character and the Office which you now sustain
as an Ambassador of Jesus Christ. Hoping that you will prove
3^ourself an Israelite indeed in w^hose spirit there is no guile.
We hail you welcome to take part with us in the Ministry of
reconciliation which we have received of the Lord. In this
Manner we acknowledge you a Fellow laborer with us in the
Vineyard of God. And so long as you shall maintam the dignity
of your Office we promise to treat you as a Brother, to council
exhort and reprove you as God shall Inable us and as we find it
necessary, and we have a right to look for the same kind offices
from you. We wish that your Ministry here may be long, happy
and successful, that you may have the unspeakable satisfaction
to see the work of -the Lord prosper in your hands, that all
contentions may cease, pure religion revive and flourish and that
you may have many souls as seals of your Ministry and Crown
of rejoicing in the day of the Lord.

Brethren of this Church, behold the Man set over you in
the Lord. By thus Imbracing and receiving whom we
acknowledge you as fellow members with us of that Body of
which Christ Jesus is the Head. As the Gospel is now resetled
among you be exhorted to study those things which make for
peace and mutual edification — walk worthy the vocation where-
with ye are called with all lowliness and meekness with long
suffering forbearing one another in Love endeavoring to keep
the unity of the Spirit in the Bond of peace. May both Pastor
and People long rejoice together in this day's transaction, and
when the connection now formed shall be desolved by death
may you from the church Militant here below be transplanted
into the Church triumphant in Heaven through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen."

Capt. Bagley entertained the Council and brought in a bill of
$35.00, which the town refused to pay. Only twelve pounds
were allowed for settling expenses of ordination. The minister's
salary was increased to eighty pounds, and the next year it was
made $266.68. It remained at that figure for many years, but
it is said that the salary was reduced in 1813 to $175.00 and in
T821 to $100.00.

Rev. Jacob Herrick was seventh child of Samuel and Eliza-
beth (Jones) Herrick of Reading, Mass., born 12 June 1754. He
was grandson of Martvn Herrick and Ruth Endicott who was



great granddaughter of Gov. John Endicott. He graduated
at Harvard College in 1776 and received the degree of A. M,
in 1778. He was in Capt. Bacheller's Co., Col. Bridge's Regt.
25 Sept. 1775 ; commissioned Adjutant to reinforce the
Continental army 28 Oct. 1779, and served in Col. Jacob
Gerrish's Essex and SufTolk County Regt. He was commis-
sioned as adjutant of the Middlesex County Regt. 4 July 1780.
It is also said that he was Lieut, of Marines on a vessel, was
taken prisoner and carried to Halifax. When liberated he was
brought home to Reading by one Capt. Nichols. Thus he had
several years of military service in the Revolution. He married
July 1780 Sarah Webster of Bradford, Mass. He came from
Beverly, Mass., and settled in Durham in 1796, being the first
ordained pastor of the Congregational church. He died there
Dec. 18, 1832. His wife died Oct. 13, 1829, aged 76 years.
Their tombstones may be seen in the old cemetery.

He is described as slow and somewhat tedious in his delivery
but of good ability and a very excellent pastor. He was over
six feet tall, and his face was perfectly smooth. The delivery
of his sermons occupied an hour or more. He is said to have
been ardently opposed to the election of "that infidel, Tom
Jefferson," asserting that he would destroy both churches and
school-houses. He was a good man and served the church well
and also the town for many years as one of the school

His wife was a woman of fine presence, a beauty in her
youth, and gifted with rare intellectual powers. It was said of
her that she could hold her own in conversation with any and
all of the ministers she entertained. Of generous nature, she
gave freely from her not too lavish store. Her younger son used
to say that he had often seen his mother divide the dough she
had just set to rise for bread, wrap one portion in a towel, and
give it to a needy parishioner, though the supply of flour at the
parsonage was exhausted, a serious matter in those days when
flour was not easily obtainable.

A word more about the church edifice. In 1804 the town
voted to repair it at a cost of $1136. Thomas Chase and Aaron
Osgood were chosen to superintend the work. At the same
time Francis Harmon was allowed $174 for the building of a
new Porch. It was never painted outside nor inside except the


high pulpit with its winding staircase. There was no way of
warming it except with footstoves, which some carried with
them to church. Between the two long sermons the worshipers
often ran into the neighbors' houses to get warm. Mr.
Herrick continued pastor till 183 1 with the exception of the years
1827-29 when Rev. Bennett Roberts was stated Supply. There
was no regular service after the death of Mr. Herrick, and in 1850
the building was sold, taken down and carried to Porter's
Landing, Freeport, where it is said to be still in use as a ware-
house. It ought to be moved back and made a Museum of
Durham Antiquities.

In 1806 Mr. Rourk was paid $7.85 for his wife's cleaning
the North Meeting house. In 1802 she was paid $6.00 for
similar service and $2 for "washing and sanding the meeting
house after two last town meetings." In 1808 Barnabas Strout
was paid $1.50 for taking care of the meeting house the past
year, and Elizabeth Rourk was paid $2 for locking and unlocking
the meeting house, in 1808.

About 1845 ^ Congregational church was built on the cross
road that leads by Henry Harrington's from the lower County

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of Durham, Maine; → online text (page 5 of 28)