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|"JOHN BARRON,||three shares.|
|NAHUM PERKINS,||" "|
|JOHN TEBBETTS,||two "|
|ALFRED WHITE,||four "|
|HUGH PATTEN,||two "|
|ALFRED S. PERKINS,||" "|
|STOCKBRIDGE HOWLAND,||" "|
|WILLIS SPRAGUE,||" "|
|LEMUEL THOMPSON,||" "|
|MATHEW PATTEN,||one "|
|JOSEPH PATTEN,||" "|
|JOSHUA FOY,||" "|
|ISAAC L. COOK,||" "|
|JOHN H. ALEXANDER,||" "|
|JOHN B. LARRABEE,||two "|
|JOSEPH BARRON,||" "|
|JAMES MCKEEN,||" "|
|GIVEN JAMESON.||" "|
|DAVID ALEXANDER,||one "|
|JAMES H. SANDFORD,||two "|
"A true copy of the original.
"ISAAC P. TEBBETTS."
The bell on this meeting-house was the gift of General Veazie. It cost about seven hundred dollars. Subsequently it was cracked and recast.
The first BAPTIST or "OLD YELLOW MEETING-HOUSE" was built in 1795. It was situated about two miles west of the village in the lot adjoining the old burying-ground. It was forty feet long and thirty feet wide. It was built chiefly by Joseph Haley, Captain Actor Patten, 1st, John Merrill, Pelatiah Haley, and James Purington. It was unused for many years, and was finally taken down, and rebuilt for a boarding-house at one of the ship-yards in Brunswick.
The BAPTIST VESTRY was built in 1819. It was situated opposite the village burying-ground, on the corner of the grounds now occupied by the Franklin Family School, and was built over the brook, which is still to be seen there. It was a long, low, one-story building without a steeple. In 1840 it was purchased by the town for a town-house, and was used as such for many years.
The present BAPTIST CHURCH was erected in 1835. The first meeting held in it was in May of that year. When first built and until 1870 there was a gallery over the porch; the pews were oblong with doors, and the pulpit was quite high. In 1870 the building was greatly improved both internally and externally, and it was enlarged by an addition of some five or six feet in front. The gallery and pulpit were taken down and a new pulpit erected, the pews were remodelled, and the building thoroughly repaired, at a cost of upwards of $2,500. The bell on this church was purchased in 1836 by sub-scription, the larger portion of the cost being paid by Deacon David Scribner.
The FREE WILL BAPTIST MEETING-HOUSE was erected in 1837. The cost of the building was about $3,000. It has been kept in good repair, but it remains to-day substantially as it was first built, having never been remodelled.
The Court House was built in the year 1800. It was situated about midway between the residence of Deacon David Scribner and the Franklin Family School building. The illustration shows the appearance of the building previous to 1835, at which time it was remodelled. In 1848, Topsham being no longer a half-shire town, the building was
sold to the proprietors of the Topsham Academy. It was again remodelled, and was used as an academy until a short time before its destruction by fire, which was on December 3, 1857.
In 1840 the town purchased of Joshua Haskell. the Baptist vestry and lot for the sum of two hundred and twenty-five dollars, and paid three hundred and seventy-five for finishing the building inside and outside, and also paid forty dollars for a stone drain, to secure the town-house and road from washing. This was the first and only town-house owned by the town, and its total cost was only six hundred and forty dollars. It was finally torn down in 1864, the town having made arrangements with the Sagadahoc Agricultural Society for the use of their hall for town-meetings.
up slanting. The trees were fastened together with joists and were boarded over. Inside, a flight of stairs led up to the "lantern" or standing-place, which was large enough for three or four persons to occupy it at one time. From this observatory a fine view of Casco Bay could be obtained, and sometimes the White Mountains could be seen from it. This structure remained standing some seven or eight years. when the stairs having become somewhat rotten, it was thought unsafe, and was consequently given to a poor man, who used a portion of the lumber for a pen for animals and the rest for firewood.
The FOSTER HOUSE on the "Foreside" road, near the Narrows, was built in 1775, or very soon after, by Mr. Joseph Foster. The door fastenings and hinges were picked up by him in Portland, at the time that town was burned in 1775, and were used in the house that he was then building.
The present MERRILL HOMESTEAD was erected in 1785 by John Merrill, and is yet in excellent condition. Previously to building this house, Merrill lived in a log- house, which was situated a short distance in the rear of the present building. The log-house was built in 1760.
The house now occupied by SWANZEY WILSON, situated on the Bowdoinham road, just beyond Cyrus Purington's, was built about 1794, by James Wilson, for Doctor Emerson, who occupied it for several years. After him, Doctor Parker lived in it for a few years.
Another very old residence is on the bay, or "Foreside" road, about three miles from the village. It is now occupied by WILLIAM DOUGLASS. Whether or not it is the original house first built on the place is uncertain. The original house was once barricaded for protection from the Indians.
Another of the old houses is the ROGERS HOMESTEAD, situated on the Bowdoinham road, about three miles from the village. The main house was erected about the year 1773, and was for some eight or ten years used as an inn. The huge chimney now standing, said to be the first brick one ever built in town, was put up by Mr. Andrew Whitehouse, a mason of the first order. His plastering upon the walls excited the admiration of all who came from far and near to see it. This house was afterwards made into a double tenement, and occupied by his son, the late Honorable George Rogers, and is now occupied by the family of the late George A. Rogers.
The house now owned and occupied by JAMES WILSON was built by his father, James Wilson, previous to 1792.
The COFFIN HOUSE, on Main Street, nearly opposite the old bank, was occupied by Francis Tucker as early as 1800, and for many years after. It was originally a one-story building, and Tucker added the second story when he converted it into a public house.
The MAJOR FROST HORSE, now occupied as the FRANKLIN FAMILY SCHOOL-HOUSE, was built in 1806 by Captain Daniel Holden, the Freemasons paying largely toward defraying the expense for the privilege of having a lodge-room in it. Mr. Nathaniel Green kept a tavern in it, between 1831 and 1836, to accommodate persons attending court. Dancing-schools were often kept in the hall after it was vacated by the Freemasons. From Green's hands it passed to
Major William Frost. It was sold by the widow of the latter, in 1856, to Warren Johnson, who converted it into a boarding-school house.
The house now occupied by Daniel A. Hall, on Elm Street, was formerly the residence of Nathaniel Melcher, and was probably built previous to 1800.
The STOCKBRIDGE HOWLAND HOUSE, on Elm Street, was occupied by James Stone, father of the late Colonel Alfred J. Stone, in 1802. At the time of his residence there was open land, under cultivation, owned by Gideon Walker, to the north and east of it. The date of erection of this house, and by whom it was built, is not known.
What is known as the RACHEL PATTEN HOUSE was formerly occupied by Joseph Swett, who married a daughter of Captain Actor Patten. It was built as early as 1800.
The house now occupied by COLLINS PURINGTON, near the depot, was built in 1810, by Captain Ezekiel Purington. John Jameson was the master workman.
The CHARLES THOMPSON HOUSE, on Green Street, near its junction with Main Street, was built by Isaac Johnson, not far from the year 1800.
The PORTER HOUSE, on Elm Street, nearly opposite the graveyard, was built by Doctor Porter in 1802. When he moved to Camden in 1829 the house passed into the hands of Governor William King, who was his brother-in-law. While Governor King owned it, Mrs. Field occupied it for some years for a school. In 1843, Francis T. Purinton purchased it, and it has ever since been occupied by his family. It is on one of the best locations in town, and was, doubtless, at the time it was built and for many years thereafter, one of the finest homesteads in the village.
The WALKER HOMESTEAD, on the corner of Main and Elm Streets, was built, in 1809, by Major Nathaniel Walker, who was married and moved into it the following year, and resided there ever after until his death, in 1851. The French roof was placed upon it for a picture-gallery, in 1867, by the present proprietor, Colonel Wildes P. Walker. Other improvements were also made upon the outside, and to the grounds, which render it now one of the handsomest residences in town and an ornament to the village. The interior has been preserved substantially as it was originally built.
There are probably other houses in town as old as those mentioned, but nothing definite has been learned concerning them.
"WALKER HOMESTEAD," TOPSHAM (Sagadahoc County,) MAINE.
FORTS AND GARRISONS. - The only fort ever constructed in Harpswell was made during the war of 1812, on the land now owned by Woodbury S. Purinton, at the mouth of New Meadows River, it was a simple earthwork, the foundation of which was made of logs. A mound of earth and a few decayed logs mark its location
There was a garrison or block-house for defence against the Indians, on the north end of Bailey's Island. It was at the Narrows, between Garrison Cove and the main bay, within twenty feet of the shore. The stone foundations have been seen by some of the older inhabitants; but when the land was put under cultivation, all the stones were rolled over the bank, and there are now no traces of the garrison to be seen.
About 1764, Joseph Orr built a large block-house on the farm now owned by Bradbury Wilson. It stood near the middle of Orr's Island, on the northwest side of the hill, northwest of the present house. This block-house was standing within the memory of Captain James Sinnett, of Bailey's Island. There is now no trace of it to be discovered.
On the Neck, on the point of land now owned by Paul Stover, there was a block-house; by whom erected, or at what date, is not known. It was taken down by Daniel Randall and erected as a store-house, near his dwelling. In 1822 it was again taken down, and rebuilt as a dwelling, which is still standing.
It is quite probable that there were other block-houses or garrisons on the Neck, and also on Great Island, but these are all of which we have any account.
The old meeting-house of the First Parish in this town was probably commenced about the year 1757 or 1759. Elisha Eaton, son of the Reverend Elisha Eaton, who was a carpenter living in Boston, wrote in his diary, August 7, 1757:-
"getting stuff for window frames and Sashes for Meeting house which is for North Yarmouth ye sec'd Parish."
"Sept. 21. Caping window frames for meeting house."
"1759 June 13th. Puting sashes on board ye vessel for Meeting house at Harpswell."
"Octo. 6th, sail'd for Harpswell - arrived there ye 8th where I tarried until Nov. 27th."
Although there is no proof, yet it is quite likely that Mr. Eaton worked upon the meeting-house during his stay in Harpswell, and probably put in the windows he had been so long at work upon.
From an examination of the town records it appears that this house was a long time in being completed. At a special meeting of the town, November 14, 1774, it was voted that the "Advance ground in the Galleries and seats in the same shall be for the use of the Parish, except the Pew in the Front of the Front Gallery, they (the members of the Parish) paying the cost of the Same." And it was also voted "to put in the glass wanting in the meeting-house, mend the putty-, Prime the Sashes and window Frames."
At another meeting held the same year it was voted to lay a floor in the porch, build the stairs and doors in the porch, put up the breast-work in the galleries, and put in the seats there, and to mend the windows. Nothing further seems to have been done until June, 1781, when it was voted to shingle the "four side" of the meeting-house, and to hang the doors.
This completed the work on the church until January 16, 1792, when it was voted that there should be "four pews built in the body of the meeting-house on the Neck adjoining the pews now built, two on each side of the front alley," and that the money arising from the sale of the same should be expended in repairing the meeting-house. Also, that the pew ground should be sold at auction.
In November, 1797, the town voted to sell ten feet two inches of the pew space in each side gallery, the purchaser to pay two dollars down and the balance in ninety days, or forfeit the whole. At the sale, pew No. 5 was bid off to William Dunning, Jr., at twenty-one dollars; No. 4 to Walter Merryman, Jr., at twenty-five dollars; No. 3 to Joshua Bishop, at twenty-six dollars and fifty cents; and No. 2 to Aleck Stover at the same price.
This meeting-house was occupied by the First Parish until 1844. At a meeting of the parish held May 31, 1841, it was voted, "to take out the insides of the meeting-house, as far as necessary, take off the porch, turn the house round end to the road, and rebuild the inside of the house," and that Joseph Eaton be a committee to consult an architect and estimate the expense. It was also voted that the meeting house should not in future be used for town purposes, and that Eaton should inform the selectmen of this vote. At a meet-ing held July 5, the parish committee were instructed, in case the selectmen thought the town had a claim on the meeting-house, to refer the matter to some legal authority, and the committee were empowered to sue, and to defend the rights of the parish.
At a parish meeting, held March 26, 1842, it was voted to petition the District Court for leave to sell the meeting-house at private sale,
The above illustration will convey a very good idea of the appear-ance of the pulpit and the pews on either side, and of the gallery and walls.
The last entry in the parish records is dated September 27, 1842. It was called in the legal manner, and a legal return was made upon the warrant, and was signed by the person who notified the members and by the parish clerk. For some reason, however, it was not deemed legal by some. The entry reads as follows:-
"At a certain meeting purporting to be a meeting of the First Parish in Harpswell held on the 27, of Sept. 1842, and which was called by Washington Garcelon, Jus. Peace, issuing his warrant to Thomas Alexander, voted as follows - Thomas Alexander, Moderator; after which the meeting was objected to by a member of said Parish, in behalf of the Parish, and they refused to act, as being illegal on account of its not having been notified by said Alexander.
"Voted, that a Committee of three be chosen to remonstrate at Court against the Meeting House being sold. Voted, Joshua Stover, Rufus Dunning and Simeon Stover 2d. be this committee. Voted, that this committee have power to call on papers and witnesses.
Voted, that John Stover be an agent to carry the remonstrance to Court. Voted to pass over the 3d article in the warrant [to see if the parish would repair the meeting-house]. Voted, that all votes passed on the 26th of March last, concerning the sale of the Meeting House, be rescinded. Voted, that the Meeting House be occupied as it has been. Voted, not to assess any money for the support of the Ministry. Voted that this meeting be dissolved.
"Attest. "WILLIAM C. EATON-,
After this date the meeting-house remained, for the most part, unused, until 1856, when it was taken possession of by the town as a town-house and selectmen's office.
This building, though probably one hundred and twenty years old, is still standing, and in use as a town-house, and is in a fair state of preservation. The boards, an inch and a half thick, and the birch bark covering the cracks beneath the clapboards, are still to be seen in it, as well as the curious hinges and the original hand-made nails.
The old meeting-house of the First Palish, on Great Island, was built about 1770, and was taken down in 1843. It was similar, both externally and internally, to the old meeting-house on the Neck, and does not, therefore, require further description.
The CENTRE CONGREGATIONAL MEETING-HOUSE on Harpswell Neck, directly opposite the old First Parish Meeting-House, was built in 1843. It was built by individuals who entered into the following agreement:-
"We the subscribers being desirous to have a meeting-house built in the vicinity of the old meeting-house on Harpswell Neck, to be ever owned, managed, and conducted by the Congregational Society in Harpswell, with the privilege of its being occupied by others holding evangelical sentiments, at the request of any pew-holder, when not occupied by the said Congregational Society. To contain about forty pews, with a belfry and steeple, and to be of such dimensions as the building committee and some experienced joiner shall deem best.
"And we hereby agree to take the number of pews set against our names, and to pay the assessments as agreed upon at any regular meeting of said subscribers, the first meeting to be called by the building committee or any three of the subscribers, to choose such officers and
make such regulations as said meeting may think proper, and to determine the manner of calling future meetings. And the building committee to be Silvester Stover, Clement Martin, and James Stover. And all who can conveniently, to pay in to the Building Committee.
|"Silvester Stover||10 pews.|
|Joseph Stover||1 "|
|Dominicus Jordan||1 "|
|George S. Dunning||1 "|
|James Stover||1 "|
|Isaac Dunning||1 "|
|William Barnes||2 "|
|Joseph Eaton||1 "|
|Jacob Merryman||1 "|
|William C. Eaton||1 "|
|Hugh Farr||1 "|
|Elisha Alien, Jr.||1 "|
|Abraham Alien||1 "|
|James Dunning||1 "|
|Simeon Orr||1 "|
|Richard Orr, Jr.||1 "|
|Stephen Sinnet, Jr.||½ "|
|Michael Sinnet||½ "|
|Norton Stover, 2d||1 "|
|Clement Martin||3 "|
|George R. Skolfleld||1 "|
|Daniel Randall||1 "|
|George Skolfleld||1 "|
|Mary Skolfleld||1 "|
and future retribution. But for preachers of other sentiments than those referred to, and for all other public occasions and uses whatever, it cannot be opened except in the usual way, viz., by the committee or agent acting under the direction of the Congregational Society" It was also voted at this meeting that Joseph Eaton, George R. Skolfleld, and George S. Dunning be a committee to take measures in regard to forming a new parish, whenever it should be thought expedient. At a meeting of the proprietors, held September 25, George R. Skolfleld, James Stover, and Daniel Eandall were chosen a committee of arrangements for the dedication. It was also voted, "That we, the proprietors of the new meeting-house recently built on Harpswell Neck, do hereby convey and transfer to the Centre Congregational Parish in Harpswell when formed, all our right, title, and interest in and to said meeting-house, authorizing said parish to give deeds of conveyance to any persons who may purchase pews in said house, and to do such other acts as may be legally done by parishes in respect to meeting-houses."
The UNION MEETING-HOUSE on Harpswell Neck was built in 1841, and was dedicated by the Universalists on the twenty-first of Septem-ber of the same year. It is situated near the academy in North Harpswell.
The METHODIST CHURCH on Harpswell Neck was erected in 1854-5. Work upon the building was commenced in October, 1854, when there were but seven members in the society, which was then under the pastoral charge of Reverend George C. Crawford. Captains Norton Stover and Nathaniel Pinkham assumed the entire pecuniary responsibility. The building was dedicated May 17, 1855, and on that day the pews were sold. The cost of the building was about $4,000.
The ORR'S ISLAND MEETING-HOUSE, the first and only one ever built on that island, was erected in 1855, and is occupied one quarter of the time each by the Methodists, Free Baptists, Calvinist Baptists, and Congregationalists. The original owners were members of the three churches on Harpswell Neck. A Free Baptist Church was organized after the building was erected, and the above arrangement as to meetings was made.
Probably the oldest house now standing on Harpswell Neck is the one
occupied by Horatio Toothaker. It is situated a short distance
east of the academy. It is a large, square-roofed house, and was built
bv Deacon Andrew Dunning; in 1757.
THE ANDREW DUNNING HOUSE.
The first framed house on Sebascodigan Island was erected in May, 1764, by Colonel Nathaniel Purinton. It was a large two-story house. This house was taken down in 1850 and another erected in its place, but the barn, which was built the same year as the old house, is now standing, and has been in constant use for one hundred and twelve years.
About 1767, Reverend Samuel Veasey built a large two-story house on the lot a few rods northwest of the burying-ground on this island, which was afterwards sold to Captain Isaac Rich, and was occupied by his descendants until within a few years. It has recently been taken down.
About 1766 a one-story house was built on this island, near Condy's Harbor, by James Eastman. It is still standing, and is now occupied by Mrs. Adaline Elliott.
The oldest house on Orr's Island and the oldest in the town is undoubtedly that built by JOSEPH ORR. It is situated on a point of
land about one half mile northwest of the middle of the island, and was
probably erected about 1756. The sills are ten inches and the
beams eight inches in diameter. This house is now owned and occu-pied by Bradbury and Elbridge Wilson.
Another old house on this island is that built by MICHAEL SINNETT. It was probably erected about 1777 or 1787.
It is not unlikely that there are other very old houses still standing in Harpswell. A lack of personal knowledge of the town, however, and the great difficulty there is in determining the age of a building concerning which there is no documentary evidence, prevents us from mentioning others.
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