WASHINGTON COUNTY MAINE
CHURCHES

Washington County, Maine
Eastport Churches
 
Central Congregational Church.
 
In the winter of 1819, Rev. Mighill Blood, of Bucksport, employed by a Massachusetts missionary society, came through to Eastport, and on the 8th of February instituted a church consisting of five persons, Ezekiel Prince, Samuel Starboard, Samuel Whitcomb, Jane N. Weston, and Sarah S. Whitney. The first Congregational meeting-house was
then in process of construction; and it was the expectation of the members of the newly formed church that it would be connected with the society, worshipping in the new meetinghouse when completed. But, when the time came, the proprietors voted to send to Cambridge for a Unitarian minister; and the connection was not made. The church, however, kept together, worshipping generally with the Baptists, and, though the numbers were reduced by death and removal, others were added by letter; and in 1825 Rev. Wakefield Gale, a graduate of Andover Theological Seminary, who had been preaching for a few Sundays for the Baptists while they were without a minister, commenced regular services in the Old South School-house, and soon gathered a congregation exceeding the capacity of that building.
 
On the 11th of January, 1828, the society was organized under the name of the "First Evangelical Congregational Church and Society of Eastport." It was then decided to have a new house of worship; and Ezekiel Prince, Thomas Rogers, Nathan Bucknam, Benjamin B. Leavitt, Daniel Low were chosen a building committee. The house was built under the direction of Mr. Low as architect and builder, and dedicated Feb. 18, 1829, Mr. Gale preaching the sermon.
 
This was the first church in town with a vestry under the same roof, and is the only one retaining the then prevalent style of interior finish. Its tall steeple was blown over in the great gale of 1869, and replaced by one of slightly different form. It has a clock paid for by the town. On account of the length of the name originally adopted, it was changed in 1830 by act of the State legislature to the “Central Congregation Society of Eastport.”
 
The first deacons chosen were Ezekiel Prince and Libbeus Bailey. Deacon Prince may be said to have founded the church and society, and was its firm and faithful friend to
the end of his long life. He died July 18, 1852, aged ninety-one years. His was a marked figure in our streets,— the last of the old school,— clad in long stockings and knee
breeches. Deacon George A. Peabody is now in the fiftieth year of his service in that capacity.
 
Not long since, the church received a bequest of $2,000 from the estate of Miss Sarah Leavitt, and earlier in its history the sum of $400 from Mrs. Margaret Dawson.
 
Organization for 1888.
 
Pastor, Rev. Ora A. Lewis.
Deacon, George A. Peabody.
Prudential committee, George A. Peabody, John A. Lowe, Herbert Kilby.
Clerk and treasurer, George A. Peabody.
Superintendent Sunday-school, George A. Peabody.
 
[Eastport & Passamaquoddy, 1888, submitted by Cathy Danielson]


Washington County, Maine
Eastport Churches
 
First Congregational (Unitarian) Church.
 
In a preceding chapter, Mr. Sabine has given an account of the building of the first Congregational meeting-house. When completed and in accordance with the original agreement, a vote was taken to ascertain the preferences of the proprietors; and, though a minority wished to have a minister from the Andover Theological Seminary, by a decided
majority it was voted to send to Cambridge, and President Kirkland engaged Andrew Bigelow, a graduate of the class of 1814, at the time employed in the government of the college, who had not yet been ordained. He was son of Honorable Timothy Bigelow, then speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Arriving at Eastport in midwinter, he preached the sermon at the dedication of the new church, Jan. 13, 1820, Elder Samuel Rand assisting in the other services. Returning to Boston a few weeks later, he was ordained at the university chapel, President Kirkland preaching the sermon, and remained at Eastport a year longer.
 
In those days, "the big meeting house," as it was frequently called, was used quite regularly for Fourth of July celebrations and other public occasions, its floor and deep side galleries giving accommodation for large crowds. A bell paid for by the town with some private contributions was hung in its steeple.
 
During the pastorate of Rev. Edward H. Edes in 1831, the first church organ used in public worship in Eastern Maine was introduced here. The evening and social meetings of the society were held at private houses, at the Masonic Hall on Middle Street, or in one of the school-houses under Trescott Hall, until the rebuilding of the church during the pastorate of Rev. Henry F. Edes in 1854 and 1855. While this was being done, by the hospitality of the Washington Street Baptist Society, the regular Sunday services were continued in their vestry on Green Street. The expense of the changes in the meeting-house was about the same as the original cost of the building. The high pulpit and side galleries were removed, the floor raised, and space gained for vestry and other rooms beneath. Several years later, a convenient parsonage was built on the adjacent lot, once the parade ground of the Light Infantry and a favorite place for games of ball.
 
A recent bequest of the late Partmon Houghton, for many years a member of the Standing Committee and superintendent of the Sunday-school, gives the parish the sum of $2,000, the income to be devoted to keeping in repair and ornamenting the house and grounds.
 
Organization in 1888.
 
Pastor, Rev. H. D. Catlin.
Standing Committee, George F. Wadsworth, Edward E. Shead, Noel B. Nutt, Mrs. William S. Hume, Miss Anna A. Noyes.
Clerk, George F. Wadsworth.
Treasurer, Henry Whelpley.
Sunday-school superintendent. Rev. H. D. Catlin.
 
[Eastport & Passamaquoddy, 1888, submitted by Cathy Danielson]
Washington County, Maine
Eastport Churches
 
Methodist Episcopal Church.
 
The first regular class of the Methodist Episcopal St. Joseph's church, roman catholic
Church was formed in Eastport in November, 1838, by Rev. William Brown, who was stationed at Robbinston; and the first quarterly meeting was held by Presiding Elder Rev. D. Copeland the same year. In 1839, Eastport was made a missionary station, under charge of Rev. Isaiah McMahon, Isaac Bridges, leader, Joseph Bridges, James Luckley, and John Loveley, stewards. The Baptist society having built a new house of worship on Washington Street, their meetinghouse on High Street was first hired by the Methodists, and purchased by them in 1842. While in their possession, the building was greatly improved by the addition of a tower, and in other ways. Across the street stood the gun-house of the Eastport Washington Artillery, the lower story occupied by their brass cannon and other equipments, with drill hall above. This building the Methodists converted to peaceful uses, moving it across alongside of the church, and adapting it to vestry and parsonage purposes.
 
By the generosity of Mr. L. C. Blakey, a former member of the parish, who left a bequest larger than has ever been received by any other religious society in town, it was enabled
to undertake the building of a new church edifice, which was completed in 1884, and bears the name of the Blakey Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. The society also owns a parsonage.
 
Organization for 1888.
 
Pastor, Rev. M. G. Prescott.
Stewards, A. Flagg, E. J. Farris, G. F. Raye, S. O. Bridges, Joseph Farris, G. Stevenson, Robert Spear, A. K. McLeod, George Farris.
Trustees, M. Thompson, R. Flagg, J. Farris, G. F. Raye, R. Spear, Henry Farris, William Irving, Amos Boyd, A. K. McLeod.
Recording steward, R. Flagg.
District steward, A. K. McLeod.
Superintendent Sunday-school, R. Flagg.
 
[Eastport & Passamaquoddy, 1888, submitted by Cathy Danielson]
Washington County, Maine
Eastport Churches
 
North Christian Church
 
In Weston's History, it is stated that the church then known as the North Baptist was organized April 13, 1816. At first, services were held in the Old South School-house,
where other religious societies met before and afterward. It was also frequently called the Free-will Baptist, to distinguish it from the older or Calvinist Baptist church. Though
the second in order of time, it was the first in town to complete its house of worship, built at the head of Washington Street, which was dedicated Dec. 1, 1819, the pastor, Elder
Samuel Rand, preaching the sermon. A bequest of $500 was received from the estate of Mrs. Phoebe Peavey, widow of Captain John N. Peavey, toward the cost of the building. John Burgin, Charles Peavey, and Jerry Burgin formed the building committee. A peculiarity of the internal arrangement is remembered. Instead of placing the heating apparatus on the floor, or beneath it, as is now the custom, the stoves were hung in mid-air, attached to the columns which support the roof ; and the sexton was obliged to mount some steps to make or replenish the fires.
 
The society was incorporated under an act of the General Court of Massachusetts, Feb. 12, 1820, as the "First Baptist Society of Eastport." The following persons were named
in the act of incorporation: Sylvanus Appleby, John Babcock, John Burgin, Jerry Burgin, Alexander Capen, Thomas Haycock, John Hinkley, John C. Lincoln, Robert Mowe,
Darius Olmstead, Ethel Olmstead, Charles Peavey, John Shackford, and William Shackford.
 
For several years, evening and prayer meetings were held in a room fitted up in the
basement of Mr, Warren Hathaway's house at North End. Afterward, a vestry hall was built on Green Street, which was occupied until the church building was raised, and convenient accommodations prepared for similar purposes in the basement; and the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic now occupies the former vestry. The present denominational connection of the society is with the religious body holding the simple name of "Christians."
 
Organization in 1888.
 
Pastor, Rev. A. G. Hammond.
Deacons, George P. Andrews, John A. Capen.
Church clerk, George P. Andrews.
Sunday-school superintendent, Fremont A. Bibber.
Trustees, William Newcomb, William T. Spates, E. S. Martin.
Parish clerk, Thomas M. Bibber.
Treasurer, John Higgins.
 
[Eastport & Passamaquoddy, 1888, subitted by Cathy Danielson]
Washington County, Maine
Eastport Churches
 
Protestant Episcopal Church.
 
During the British occupation, regular services were conducted by the chaplain of the post according to the forms of the Church of England; and, in later years, visiting clergymen of the American Episcopal Church occasionally held services in the houses of worship of some of the other societies in town. However, no attempt was made to organize an Episcopal church here until 1857, when Rev. William Stone Chadwell began to hold services in the Baptist vestry on Green Street; and on the 4th of November of that year Christ Church was established, with Mr. Chadwell for its first rector, Robert Ker and Gideon W. Stickney, wardens, and Winslow Bates, D. N. Clark, and Theodore Cary, vestrymen. Steps were immediately taken toward building a church on Key Street, which was completed the following year, and consecrated by Bishop Burgess on the 10th of November, 1858.
 
Recently there has been added to the parish equipment a convenient and fine-looking rectory, which stands on the lot adjoining the church.
 
Organization for 1888.
 
Rector, Rev. Joseph Dinzey.
Wardens, W. S. Mildon, A. W. Clark.
Vestrymen, S. D. Leavitt, Winslow Bates, J. M. Swett, E. M. Small, M.D., Ezra Rumery, A. W. Woodman, E. W. Bogret.
Clerk, J. M. Swett.
Treasurer, W. S. Mildon.
Sunday-school superintendent, Rev. J. Dinzey.
 
[Eastport & Passamaquoddy, 1888, submitted by Cathy Danielson]
Washington County, Maine
Eastport Churches
 
Roman Catholic Church.
 
In 1826, Rev. Charles Ffrench came here to labor as a clergyman of the Roman Catholic faith, and began to gather a society. The few Catholic churches then established in Maine were connected with the diocese of Boston, and the Sentinel of that time published the following report of the first visit of the bishop: "20th July, 1827, Bishop Fenwick arrived from Boston on the steamer Patent, and was escorted on the same day by Rev. Mr.  French and several Indians dressed in rich costume to Pleasant Point, where he was most graciously received by that people amidst their salute from their large cannon and several discharges of musketry; and on Thursday evening, at the request of gentlemen of Eastport, he delivered in the Congregational (Unitarian) meeting-house, before a crowded and most respectable assemblage of citizens, an impressive and most eloquent discourse."
Soon after, steps were taken for the erection of a chapel; and, in this undertaking, Mr. Edward Gilligan was a most efficient assistant to Father Ffrench, and a number of Protestants contributed toward the funds.
 
The corner-stone was laid May 3, 1828; and the chapel was completed the following year. Later, a residence was built for the priest on the same lot. When some years after the parish had out-grown the capacity of their house of worship, it was moved to another  place; and the present St. Joseph's Church, which was dedicated by Bishop Bacon in 1873, was built on the same site. Recently, extensive additions and alterations have been made in the building, a larger organ introduced, and it was rededicated by Bishop Healey July 17, 1888
 
Rev. John O'Dowd is the present priest in charge of the parish, and Stephen Sherlock superintendent of the Sunday-school.
 
[Eastport & Passamaquoddy, 1888, submitted by Cathy Danielson]
Washington County, Maine
Eastport Churches
 
Washington Street Baptist Church.
 
A meetinghouse was built on Moose Island as early as 1794; but several years elapsed before any permanent religious organization was effected. Services were conducted in the meeting-house from time to time by itinerants, who were mostly Baptists; and in July, 1801, Elder Edward Manning baptized over thirty persons. At length, on the eighth day of August, 1802,* the church now known as the Washington Street Baptist Church was instituted by Rev. James Murphy, who became pastor, assisted by Rev. Elijah Brooks, of
New Brunswick. Aaron Hayden was the first deacon.
 
The church at the beginning consisted of fifty-seven persons, widely scattered about the vicinity and neighboring islands, some as far away as Pennamaquan, who soon after withdrew and formed a church at home; and several years later others established a church at Lubec. At first, the up island meeting-house was occupied. After the South School-house was built, services were held there; and later the society worshipped in a room above a store on Water Street. The breaking out of the War of 1812 interrupted plans for building a meeting-house; but services were continued with considerable
regularity during the British occupation, and, after the departure of their forces, the work was taken up again.
 
The meeting-house on High Street was dedicated Nov. 12, 1820, the pastor, Rev. Henry J. Ripley, preaching the sermon. This house was plainly built, without tower or steeple;
and the interior was arranged in a peculiar manner, the pulpit standing between the entrance doors, with the congregation seated in the pews facing that way.
 
In 1837, when under the pastoral care of Rev. John B, Hague, the new house of worship was built on Washington Street, and dedicated Dec. 13, 1837, Rev. James Huckins of Calais preaching the sermon. In 1818, Samuel Wheeler was appointed deacon. Both he and Deacon Hayden continued in service until their decease; and their sons, Charles H. Hayden and Loring F. Wheeler, were their immediate successors.
 
For many years, the prayer and conference meetings of the church were held in the Hayden School-house, on the ledge at the top of Boynton Hill. Afterward, a commodious vestry was built on Green Street. Recently, the church building has been raised, and in the basement spacious and convenient vestry, parlor, library, and other rooms arranged, giving the parish its needed equipment all under one roof; and the former vestry is now the armory of the Frontier Guards.
 
Although the society had been in existence for so many years under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it was not until the separation of the State of Maine that steps were
taken to secure a legal organization; and on the 15th of June, 1820, the petition of Aaron Hayden and seven others was presented to the Maine legislature for the incorporation
of the " First Baptist Church and Society in Eastport." The prayer of the petition was granted and organization completed Aug. 28, 1821. Bequests amounting to $1,000 have been received from the estate of Deacon Samuel Stevens.
 
Organization in 1888.
 
Pastor, Rev. A. J. Hughes.
Deacons, John S. Pearce, Samuel Campbell, Harvey Bishop, T. C. Adams.
Church clerk, Horace Wilder.
Parish clerk, Simon Stevens.
Treasurer, T. C. Adams.
Collector, B. A. Gardner.
Trustees, P. M. Kane, T. C. Adams, John McGregor.
Sunday-school superintendent, E. S. Kinney.
 
[Eastport & Passamaquoddy, 1888, submitted by Cathy Danielson]
 

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