Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of Durham, Maine; online

. (page 6 of 28)
Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of Durham, Maine; → online text (page 6 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Road. This in 1853, was moved to its present position near
S. W. Bend. This church has been served by Rev. John Elliott
Nov. 1845 to Nov. 1848; Jonas Fiske 20 May 1849 to 12 Sept.
1852; Wm. V. Jordan i Nov. 1854 to Nov. 1855; John S. C.
Abbott 1856-1857; Henry S. Loring i Jan. 1857 to i Jan. 1859;
Wm. H. Haskell 1862-1869; F. Shattuck 1870; Albert Bushnell
1871 ; Charles W. Hill 1872-3 ; Prof. Jotham Sewall 1874-5 ; Prof.
Richard Stanley 1876-8; Richard Wickett 1879-85; George W.
Gould 1885-7; R- L. Sheafe 1888; Prof. Thos. L. Angell 1889-
91; W. F. Stowe 1892; Prof. T. L. Angell 1893; I. S. Jones
1894-5; Supplies 1896; R. Wickett 1897; V. E. Bragdon Oct.






Previous to 1804.

O. Israel Bagley,

John Blake,

Dr. John Converse,

(Bought of Enoch Bagley

Gideon Curtis,
John Gushing,
*Jolin Dain,
David Dyer,
Micah Dyer,
Edward Fifield,
Benjamin Gerrish,
^Nathaniel Gerrish,
Sarah Gerrish.
Jeremiah Gerrish,
William Gerrish,
George Gerrish,
John Hoyt,
John Lincoln,

John Mcintosh,
William McGray,
Samuel Merrill,
Nathaniel Osgood,
Joseph Proctor,
Ebenezer Roberts,
Simeon Sanborn,
Jacob Sawyer,
*Joshua Snow,
*John Stackpole Jr.,
(Bought of Thomas Pearson)
Elisha Stetson.
*Abel Stoddard,
Barnabas Strout,
Benjamin Vining,
Bela Vining.
Ebenezer Warren,
Ebenezer Woodbury,
*Zebulon York.

All the above pew-owners surrendered their pews to the parish
in 1804, and after extensive repairs were made the new pew^s were
sold at auction to the following persons :

Dr. Symonds Baker,
Josiah Burnham,
Dr. John Converse,
Gideon Curtis.
Matthew Duran,
Micah Dyer,
George Gerrish, Jr.,
Francis Harmon,
James Hibbard,
Rev. Jacob Herrick,
Nehemiah Hooper,
Secomb Jordan,
John Lincoln.
Elijah Macomber,

William Newell,
Aaron Osgood,
Benjamin Osgood,
Joseph Osgood,
Joseph Proctor,
John Richards.
Peter Sanborn,
Jonathan Strout,
Barnabas Strout,
Charles Stetson,
John Sydleman,
Job Sylvester,
Ebenezer Warren,
Foster Waterman, Esq.,
Georp-e Williams.

Samuel Merrill,

There is no official list of Deacons, since the records were
recently destroyed in the burning of a house. The following,
however, are known to have served : Benjamin Vining, William

Those marked * are known to have joined the Methodists, with the
families of several others.


True, Daniel Harmon, James Hibbard, John Sydleman, Senr.,
Osgood Strout, William B. Newell, Jonathan Carpenter, Ralph
H. Hascall twenty-one years, and William P. Brown who was
chosen in 1890 and is the only Deacon now serving. The
church has now twelve members. The Sunday School numbers
twenty-eight. There are fourteen in the Society of Christian

The Rev. Israel Newell left an endowment to this church, in
lands and buildings valued at $2000. They were sold to Edward
Newell on a mortgage payable in sixteen years at six per cent.
The parish has a fund of about $400. It is assisted by the State
Missionary Society, and with difficulty maintains religious
services with some interruptions.

The writer has sometimes wished that all other denominations
had staid out of town and left Durham to be cultivated by the
FYiends and the "Orthodox Church." This might have been
done, if it had not been for unjust taxation to support the latter,
for unprogressiveness in religious opinions, and for lack of
intense spiritual life at critical times. Once, too, the population
seemed to demand several churches. Now there is a loud
providential call that all persons in the vicinity of S. W. Bend
should lay aside individual preferences and unite heartily in
maintaining one church, which in the nature of the case must
and ought to be Congregational in polity. Such a movement
has been more than once on the eve of consummation. May
even the aged live long enough to see the realization of such a
glorious hope. Let us strive for unity in the church militant as
v/ell as expect it in the church triumphant.

It is quite certain that the Rev. Asa Heath first preached the
gospel according to Methodism in Durham in 1802. He was
then stationed on Falmouth Circuit and with James Lewis, a
local preacher of Gorham, used to make preachmg tours for
many miles around. This Heath afterwards settled in
Monmouth and is the ancestor of Hon. Herbert Heath of
Augusta. In 1803 Bowdoinham Circuit was formed, which
included Durham, and True Glidden was preacher in charge.
He was a nephew of Deacon William True of Parson Herrick's
church. By invitation he preached in True's kitchen, and a great


interest in Methodism was awakened. Dea. Inie's house stood
a few rods south of the brick house built by Hiram Drinkwater
at Methodist Corner. GHdden was a minister of rare promise.
Rev. Ebenezer Blake, native of Durham, thus wrote of him:
"He was one of the best young men I ever knew. I have
often observed him while in prayer, in the congregation, the
tears rolling from his eyes and dropping from his face. He
literally wore himself out in less than three years. He died of
consumption in 1806. and was buried in Chester, N. H., where
no tablet marks his resting place. '"

August 4th and 5th 1804 a Quarterly Meeting was held in
Durham, continuing till the next Wednesday night. The
tradition of this has been current for a century. It is called the
"great revival." Timothy Merritt took the place of the
Presiding Elder. He was afterwards editor of Zion's Herald
and one of the foremost men in New England Methodism. The
meeting on the Sabbath was held in a grove back of where the
church at Methodist Corner now stands. The population for
niiles around was assembled. Mr. Merritt, standing upon a cart
for a pulpit preached with wonderful power from Amos vii .2,
"By whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small." The sermon
was followed with an exhortation by Daniel Dudley, the circuit
preacher that year, and a fervent prayer by James Lewis. We
are indebted to Rev. Charles W. Morse, who was pastor of the
Methodist church in Durham in 1830, for the followmg descrip-
tion : " The people were overwhelmed with emotion and many
fell to the ground. There was earnest praying, and there were
loud cries in every direction, through the congregation. The
preachers and brethren spent the afternoon in praying for
anxious seekers. The excitement was so intense, that the
administration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, usual on
Sunday afternoon of the Quarterly meeting, was necessarily

A woman who was in the congregation, disgusted with the
excitement, declared it to be "the work of Satan" and said she
■'would stay there no longer." .She mounted her horse and rode
away, but she had proceeded but a short distance, when she was
overpowered and fell from her horse, as dead. She was carried
into a house by Christian friends. When she could speak, they
found she was "under conviction." The friends prayed for her,
and she soon "found the Lord."


The meeting was continued till Wednesday night; the
sacrament being administered Wednesday afternoon. This
extraordinary Quarterly meeting resulted in a gracious revival,
in which over one hundred were converted and received into the
Methodist church. Among these were : George Ferguson,
William Jones, John Tyler, Daniel Harwood, Abel True, Samuel
True, John Hatch, Richard Doane, Jacob Randall, and their
wives. Of the Congregationalists who joined the Methodists at
that time were Dea. Daniel Harmon and wife, Dea. William True
and wife (the parents of Rev. Charles K. True, afterwards
professor in Wesleyan University).

This religious awakening was denounced as fanaticism by
the Congregationalist pastor ; but the revival went on and
brought into the Methodist church the principal families of that
community : and the place became prominent in the early
history of Methodism in the State. Ever since that time, this
neighborhood has borne the name of "Methodist Corner."

There is no official record of the early members of the church.
The Town Records supply the names of such as presented a
certificate of membership in order to escape taxation for the
support of the Congregational church. They are :

1812, James Wilbur, Nathaniel Merrill, James Nichols, Oliver
Stoddard, Abel Stoddard, Apollos Jordan, Samuel Nichols,
Simeon Farr, John Wilbur, Zebulon York, Joseph Sylvester,
John Fifield, Joshua Snow, Ebenezer Snow, Jacob Harris, Wni.
Parker, Daniel Gross, Thomas Ficket, Benj. Hunnewell, John
Staples, Jonathan Libby, Thomas Larrabee, Andrew Hunnewell,
Samuel Goodwin, Isaac Libby, Joseph Osgood and John Dain
of Lisbon.

1813. Obed Read, John Stackpole, Jr., Samuel Jones, Reuben
Roberts, O. Israel Fifield, John F'arr.

1815, Peter Sanbon, Amos Parker, Nathaniel Parker, Wm.

1816, Rufus Ricker, Alfred Wood, James Gerrish, 2d,
Nathaniel Gerrish, John Robinson, Lemuel Nichols, Richard

The following Class paper gives the names of still earlier
members. In those days no one was admitted to Class meeting
without a similar paper.



Copy of Durham Class Paper, No. 2.

"Joshua Soule, presiding elder. Robert Hayes, James
Spaulding, John W. Hardy, Circuit Preachers. Woe to the idle

N. B. Every Friday last preceeding the Q. M., is to be
observed as a day of fasting and prayer."
Durham, July 12 1809.
























































The earliest baptisms recorded were Dec. 24 1809. Joshua
Soule, afterwards Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
admmistered the rite to David Ferguson and John H. Davis.
In 181 1 Rev. J. W. Hardy baptized Nancy Newell, Abigail
Roberts, Asa Mitchell, Abigail Goodwin, Betsey Goodwin, Sally
Goodwin, Sally Doane, Sally Roberts, Judith Currier, Abigail
Sanborn, Adults; and William Frost, child of William and
Rebecca Fickett, and Daniel Harmon, child of Daniel and Polly

The Methodist Society in Durham and Pownal was
incorporated March i, 1810, by an act of the Mass. Legislature.
The house of worship was erected before that date and probably


as early as 1804. This was reconstructed and greatly improved
in 1867, during the pastorate of that devout and cultured
gentleman, Rev. William Stout, now a member of the New
Jersey Conference. Many remember the edifice as it formerly
was, with galleries on the sides and rear, small windows, high
pulpit and pew-doors.

In ]8o6 Durham Circuit was formed. Its limits have varied
from time to time, but once included Pownal, Danville, Lisbon,
Litchfield, Wales, Freepqrt, with classes in regions beyond. In
1849 Durham was made a charge by itself. North Pownal is
now connected with it. Preachers lived in the saddle and
boarded around. In the Steward's account for 1809 are found
the following "disbursements:" ''Expense $2.12; J. Soule,
$3.00; J. W. Hardy, $8.62; J. Spaulding, $1.05; R. Hays, $6.16;
L. Sargent, $2.45; total $23.40." In 1815 is this account,
"Distributions, O. Beal $11.08; R. Hays, 47.80; J. Paine, $23.90;
Expense, $7.00; total, $90.00." Some grateful preacher has
written the following comment, appended to the last record,
"Lord fulfill thy promise to the benevolent. Amen."

The society rapidly increased. In 1806 the membership
numbered 10 1. In 1808 it had grown to 327 on the circuit. In
1832 there were 425 members and in 1842 there is the largest
enrollment, 527. Then was the revival under the leadership of
Revs. J. Thwing and E. F. Blake. Their united salaries were


The following record appears on the old books of the Society.
" Quarterly Meeting held at Durham on the Camp Ground Aug.
183 1." Some are still living who remember attending the
camp meetings held for several years, at the usual season, in the
woods on the farm of James Strout, about a mile above S. W.
Bend. The tents were numerous and the crowds were great.
There was much loud shouting and joyful singing, with some
excitement and disturbance.

Dr. David B. Strout should be credited for the following
reminiscences, cited from an article in the Atlas of Androscoggin
County, written by Josiah H. Williams :

"I well remember the solemn bearing of clergymen in those
days. It seemed to us children that some awful presence was
approaching whenever one appeared, and we would steal away
into some safe retreat. Nor was this feeling of restraint shared


IfttJ^ J.-'*'' ^v-^V..



by the children alone, everybody stood in a,we of the minister.
Among the early Methodist preachers was an old gray-headed
man of medium size, with frame strong and firmly knit together,
who was a terror to evil doers, or all those he thought in error.
With many he bore the reputation of a blackguard. Some of
his own church complained of his treatment of those who had
the misfortune to differ with him. A committee was finally
chosen from among his parishioners and adherents to visit him,
and, if possible, induce him to be more lenient towards his
opponents, but the old gentleman assured them that all his clubs
were aimed at the devil, and if any man chose to place himself
between him and his mark, he must run the risk of being hit.
This explanation seemed to be satisfactory to the committee, who
retired leaving him master of his position. His name was Fogg,
familiarly and extensively known as "Daddy Fogg." Among
the early Methodist itinerant preachers was James Weston. He
was a man of small stature, but scholarly, and very precise in his
language, and a man of very fair ability. He was also a zealous
temperance man, and as he witnessed the ravages of this evil,
both in and outside of the church, he resolved to do what he
could to stay its progress. After preaching an able sermon upon
the subject, he invited his church to meet him on an evening then
fixed for the purpose of taking into consideration the importance
of forming a temperance organization. They were not long in
concluding to second his efforts in that direction ; consequently
a pledge was drawn up, and a committee chosen from among
the brethren to circulate it for signatures. At this period, in all
or nearly all the stores rum was sold. A few days after the
pledge had been drawn up Mr. Weston entered one of the stores
and saw a Methodist brother, by the name of Doane, just in the
act of raising a glass of rum to his lips. The Rev. W. cried
out, "Stop, stop Brother D., has not Brother Warren said
anything to you about drinking?" Mr. D. who was troubled
with an impediment in his speech said, "Ye-ye-yes, ev-very ti-
time I see hi-im he asks me to tre-treat him."

The New England Conference held its annual session at
Methodist Corner in 1814, beginning June 2. Bishop Mc-
Kendree presided. Rev. Reuben Hubbard was secretary.
History has preserved no account of this Conference except the
usual brief minutes.



Previous to 1838 the few scattered Baptists of Durham
found affiihation with Baptist Societies organized in neighboring
towns. The names of such as did so are recovered from the
Town Records. Their certificates of membership were recorded
so that they might avoid being taxed for the "estabhshed
church" of Parson Herrick. The earhest mentioned were in
1794, Stephen Weston, Samuel York and Joseph York. These
were members of the Baptist church in Lewiston. In 1810
EHjah Macomber, Isaac Lambert and Thomas Proctor belonged
to the Baptist church in Pejepscot, or Danville. The meetings
were held in private houses and school houses till 1840, when
the "Union church" now so called was built about a mile from
the River, on the road to Danville Corner. Magnus Ridlon and
Samuel Robinson were members of this church in 1816. Elisha
Stetson, Daniel Lambert, Samuel Roberts, John Ellis, Barnabas
Strout and Reuben Weston belonged to the Baptist church in
Freeport in 1812. Secomb Jordan had his membership in
Brunswick in 181 2 and Thomas Waterhouse in New Gloucester
in 1 810.

In 1835 the Union church at S. W. Bend was built, and Aug.
8, 1835 the Baptist church of Durham was organized with
twenty-two members, viz. Deacon Isaac Lambert, James Wagg,
Jeremiah Dingley, Joel Morse, William Dingley, Isaac Lambert,
Mary Lambert, Eliza Macomber. Isabel Jones, Dorothy Blethen,
Hannah Richardson, Harriet Lambert, Julia Ann Blethen,
Betsey Bowie, Mary Mitchell, Lucy Lambert, Maria Dmgley,
Abigail Blethen, Sally Morse, Mary Barstow, Joel Farrow, and
Mariam Downer. Of this number the late Deacon William
Dingley was the last to join the church triumphant.

The services of organization were as follows: Rev. J. W.
Atkins of the Methodist Episcopal church offered prayer. Sermon
by Rev. E. R. Warren of Topsham. Right hand of fellowship
by Rev. R. C. Starr of New Gloucester. Address to the church
by Rev. Shimuel Owen. Prayer by Rev. Noah Hooper of
Minot. Isaac Lambert was then ordained Deacon and many
still testify that he was a faithful and pious ofBcer of the Church,
worthily followed in office by his neighbor. Deacon William
Dingley, whose services as Sunday School Supt. and leader of
neighborhood prayer-meetings are gratefully remembered by



i *iH-fT




many. A former resident of Durham recently told me that
these were the two best men he ever knew.

In 1840 Rev. Noah Hooper was chosen pastor. He was
succeeded by Rev. Moses Hanscom in 1842, who was ordained
in Danville April 12 of that year. He built a house on the hill
at S. W. Bend, next to that of Ralph Hascall, in 1843. Moved
to Bowdoinham in 1857. Rev. Moses Hanscom was son of
Moses and Mary Hanscom of Danville, born 10 ]May 1808. He
served as pastor of churches in Durham, Bowdoinham, Brooklin,
Nobleboro and Friendship. From 1880 he lived with a son at
Auburn and died there Dec. 1890. His first wafe was Mary
Vickery, by whom there were children, William Allen, Ruel W.,
Moses C, and Sarah. His second wife was Elvira Snow of
Brunswick. Their children were Rebecca S., Edwin W., Mary
L., Frank B., Elvira D., and Eliza G. The long pastorate of
Mr. Hanscom at Durham endeared him to many of the inhab-
itants, who will be glad to see his face in print. He Avas success-
ful in his ministry and a zealous promoter of the cause of
temperance. Rev. Mr. Gurney preached for some time in
Durham and Rev. George Tucker lived here several years.
The church which once numbered sixty members gradually
dwindled till in 1887 it was dropped from the roll of the Baptist


The Universalists had occasional preaching in School Houses
before 1840. In that year a church was built at S. W. Bend on
the right hand just as the roaa turns to Freeport. It was served
by Rev. Leander Hussey, L. P. Rand, and I. C. Knowlton. The
last was in Durham 1845-50. There was only occasional
preaching thereafter. I remember the church only for the
temperance and political rallies and School exhibitions held in
It, It was burned in 186-.

Elder Benjamin Randall held meetings in Lisbon in 1780, in
which some from Durham were converted, and a church was
gathered, made up of inhabitants from both sides of the river.
In 1790 a Free Baptist church was organized on the Durham side
by Elders E. Stinchfield and Christopher Tracy. A record of
baptisms kept by Elder Stinchfield contains the following names


of persons baptized in Durham: Aug. 21, 1801, Samuel Tracy,
Judith Tracy, Mary Beal. Nov. 21, 1802, Wm. Beal, EHzabeth
Tracy. July 10, 1802, Wm. Blake, Jr. May 20, 1805, Nabby
Tracy, George Littlefield, Polly Littlefield, Dorothy Tracy.
May 21, 1805, Samuel Tracy, Christopher Tracy, Wm. Crabtree,
Nabby Littlefield. Aug. 22, 1805, James Blethen, Increase
Blethen, Anna Orr, Submit York, Ruby Young, Hannah Wilbur.
Aug. 24, 1806, Hannah Graffam. Sept. 21, 1806, John Wilbur,
Polly Adams. Sept. 22, 1806. Daniel Sutherland, Esther Tracy.
The church became weak, and June 13, 1829 it was reorganized
by Elder George Lamb. At that time it had twelve members,
Elijah Littlefield, Daniel Gould, lienry Plummer, Christopher
Tracy, Abram Metcalf, John Robinson, John Blethen, Mary
Getchell, Margaret Tracy, Jane Gould, Lovina Tracy, Elizabeth
Tracy. Meetings were held at the "Cedar School House," near
the river, and at the Brick School House. In 1840 there Was a
great religious awakening in Durham, and the membership of
this church increased to seventy. They began to talk about a
Meeting House. It was built and dedicated Nov. 20, 1845. The
sermon, at the dedication, was preached by Elder Daniel Jackson.
TJie cost of this ''Brick Church," near "Plummer's Mill,"
(anciently Gerrish's Mill) was about $1000, of which sum Elder
Henry Plummer contributed $550. The church prospered for
several years, but grew Vv'eak by deaths and removals, till in
1855 it ceased to hold regular meetings. It has had occasional
services suice and has been put in a good state of repair.


Nearly all the settlers in the southern part of the town were
Friends. They came from Harpswell, N. Yarmouth and Dover,
N. H. Their names were Estes, Douglas, Jones, Varney,
Pinkham, Collins, Webber, Tuttle, etc. With others of like faith
from the northern part of Brunswick they established religious
service in the house of Joseph Estes as early as 1775. Thus
they are the oldest religious society of Durham, and there has
been no "Lord's Day" since the date mentioned without a
religious service.

The house of Joseph Estes, long known as the "Hawkes
House " because occupied by Nathan Hawkes, was an historic
landmark. It was burned in 1894. It was a one-story house




with a two-story porch, and was occupied in its latest history
as a blacksmith shop by N. O. Jones.

A Meeting House was erected on the site of the present one.
This was burned Sept. 1829, and the Society worshiped again
in the "Hawkes House," till the brick edifice was erected the
same year. Their Church Records were destroyed in 1852 b>
the burning of the house of Lemuel Jones, the Society Clerk.

The yearly Meetings held here have been of great interest,
attracting large audiences and speakers of national reputation.
The Friends of Durham have been a quiet, industrious, honest
and devout people. This Society numbered 257 in 1890.


A brief biographical sketch of the ministers reared in this
town may fittingly form a part of its ecclesiastical history. It
is questioned whether any other town of no greater population
can name so long a list of its natives devoted to the work of the
Christian ministry. It speaks well for the religious character
of its early population. No rumor has been heard by the writer
that the ministerial character of any one in the following list was
ever called in question. They have been a body of able,
consecrated and successful workmen, and some have made a
reputation for themselves and town in home and foreign fields
of labor. The list is believed to be complete, though it has been
impossible to get biographical details in several cases.

REV. SAMUEL NEWELL, youngest son of Ebenezer and
Catherine (Richards) Newell, was born in Royalsborough 25
July 1785. He early thirsted for an education, and thought that
if he could reach his grandfather in Newton, he might find a
way to secure it. At the age of fifteen he took some shirts,
handkerchiefs and stockings in a bandana and went on foot to
Portland, to take ship to Boston. An aged relative, the Rev.
W. C. Richards, gives the follov/ing account of him.

"As he was standmg about the wharf, a ship captain asked
him what he would like. "To get up to Boston. I have a
grandfather at Newton Oak Hill and want to see him."
" Well, " said the captain, " I am going to start for Boston in
a half hour's time and I will take you along with me, and if you

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of Durham, Maine; → online text (page 6 of 28)