Fryeburg Churches

Rev. Paul Coffin, D. D., of Buxton, visited this region in 1768, on a missionary journey “to Pigwacket” and was elaborately entertained at the mansion of Capt. Henry Young Brown and at the home of John Webster. At these and other places he delivered sermons, being the earliest ordained preacher, except Rev. Timothy Walker of Conway, to preach the gospel in town. The CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH was organized Aug. 28, 1775, and Rev. W m. Fessenden, a graduate of Harvard, was ordained pastor and town minister on October 11th following. His salary was paid in Indian corn at three shillings per bushel and rye at four shillings, for the first six years of his ministry. He was well adapted to his charge and proved popular and useful until his death May 5, 1805. He was succeeded by Rev. Francis L. Whiting whose ministry terminated in 1814. For several years Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Porter, pastor in Conway, supplied this church. Sept. 17, 1823, Rev. Carlton Hurd was ordained pastor, whose successful term of service was terminated by his death Dec. 6, 1855. One year later John Q. Peabody was ordained pastor, and in 1859 was succeeded by Rev. David B. Sewall who remained with the church until 1873, when he removed to the York First Church. Rev. Baman N. Stone was installed pastor June 18, 1874, dismissed May 2, 1877, soon after which he organized the New church. Rev. Javan K. Mason, D. D., became acting pastor in Aug. 1877, resigned in October 1886, and went to Herndon, Va. Rev. Wm. F. Livingston, 1888-89; Rev. Albion H. Ross, 1890-91; Rev. Chas. S. Young, 1891-96; Rev. Ernest Hamlin Abbott, ordained 1896, dis. Jan. 23, 1902; Rev. Edgar T. Pitts, May 5, 1903-Mar. 31, 1905, and Rev. Edwin P. Wilson who has served this church since 1905 completes the list of pastors.

In 1778, the town voted to erect a meeting house at the Centre, voted £100 for the purpose and chose a committee of seven men to attend to the matter. It was sometime before the exact location could be decided upon, but the house was put up that year “where Isaac Abbott’s barn formerly stood” near the center of the settlement. The house was without pews or gallery, but served its intended purpose for several years. The second house of this denomination was erected at the lower end of the village in 1796. After the completion of the present house in 1850, this was occupied by the Academy until the erection of the present Academy building in 1853. Present membership 85, Mrs. T. L. Eastman is clerk.

The second church organized in town was of the BAPTIST faith. This was gathered in 1790, and Rev. Zebedee Richardson installed pastor. Services were held at the Corner (village) Centre and in the northern part of the town for many years. After the death of Elder Richardson no successor was settled over the church, which in process of time became extinct.

The UNIVERSALIST CHURCH was organized in 1810, and the chapel at North Fryeburg erected in 1838. Regular preaching has been maintained a part of the time, the last preaching by Rev. H. H. Hoyt of Hiram, recently appointed State Missionary.

During the years from 1825 to 1835 there was considerable diversity of religious feeling in town and many new doctrines were introduced. UNITARIAN services were held in the village and FREE WILL BAPTIST preaching maintained at Last Fryeburg.

In 1828 or ’29 a METHODIST class was formed, Hon. Judah Dana and family becoming prominent members. Through his invitation Methodist preachers held regular services in the old Academy building which were’ largely attended. Rev. David Copeland was appointed to the new Circuit in 1829, including also Conway and Bartlett.

The Methodist church at the village, now the New Church B all, was erected in 1845, and the following year this charge was again connected with Bartlett. Regularservices were held here for many years until the church became greatly reduced in numbers.

The CHAPEL at THE HARBOR was erected by the Methodists and citizens of this village, and here regular services of this denomination are maintained in connection with the church in Stow. Here a new parsonage has been erected, first occupied by the present pastor, Rev. E. F. Doughty, appointed in 1899. Appointments to this charge (Harbor and Stow) since 1884, have been Revs. M. B. Greenhalgh, 1884-85; J. H. Roberts, 1886-87; J. M. Woodbury, 1888; F. C. Potter, 1889; W. H. Gowell, 1890-91; G. G. Powers, 189293; A. S. Staples, 1894; G. W. Barber, 1895-96; Wm. Bragg, 1897-98; and Rev. E. F. Doughty. Rev. Mr. Doughty also serves the church in Sweden.

THE NEW CHURCH IN FRYEBURG. The first public worship of the New Church in Fryeburg was held in the Court Hall of the old Oxford House June 3, 1877, and its permanent organization was effected on Feb. 27, 1878. Its house of worship was erected at a cost of about $4500, and was dedicated August 31, 1879. At a later date the old Methodist church was bought and repaired by this society, and is now used as a place for social entertainments.

The present membership of the church numbers about sixty. There are 103 names on its roll, including those who have died or removed to other places. The Rev. Baman N. Stone has been the pastor of this church from its formation.

Barrows, John Stuart. Fryeburg, Maine: An Historical Sketch. Pequawket Press. 1938.

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