Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: The Methodist Episcopal Church

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The Methodist Episcopal Church

When Methodism was introduced into Hampton, a Congregation and a Christian society had occupied the ground for many years. Rev. James M. Fuller preached the first Methodist sermon, in the North school-house, on Saturday evening, sometime in the month of December, 1835. The Sabbath following, he preached to a small congregation in an old meeting-house, at that time unoccupied. He was stationed that year at Lamprey River, Newmarket. After two weeks Rev. James H. Patterson, stationed at Newfields, now South Newmarket, preached in the same place. From this time there was no more preaching by Methodists till sometime in July, 1836, when Mr. Fuller came again. From July until November, there was preaching regularly, once in two weeks, by local preachers; the congregation gradually increased, and two or three were converted.

Sometime in the month of November, the friends of Methodism held their first "protracted meeting," at which about twenty were hopefully converted to God, who were immediately united together in a class. The society worshipped in the small house before mentioned, formerly occupied by the Christian society. In the following spring the house was given to the Methodists, for their special benefit, as long as they should occupy it as a place of worship. After being repaired and fitted up for the purpose, it was rededicated to the worship of God, on the 22nd of May, 1837. The sermon on the occasion was preached by Rev. J. M. Fuller, from Psalm 93:5 -- "Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever." The same month the Sunday school was organized, with Jonathan Towle for superintendent.

At the Conference at Great Falls, July 4, 1837, REV. JOHN BRODHEAD was appointed to preach in Hampton. He labored faithfully and with some success until the following spring, when he was called to his reward, deeply lamented by the church of his choice. He died in peace, at his residence in South Newmarket, on the seventh of April, 1838, leaving behind him many witnesses that his "labor was not in vain in the Lord."

Rev. John Brodhead was born October 5, 1770, in Lower Smithfield, Pa. In 1794 he entered the travelling connection, and the two following years was stationed in New Jersey and Maryland. In 1796 he came to New England where he was among the pioneers, forming new societies in various places in each of the New England states and Lower Canada. He filled many important offices in the church, and, especially in the early part of his ministry, his labors were exceedingly arduous and eminently successful.

His constitution becoming impaired, in 1811 he was stationed at what is now South Newmarket, where, after this period he usually resided. During his life, he was several times elected to the New Hampshire senate and council; and was four years a representative in Congress.

Father Brodhead was a good man, deeply pious, ardently and sincerely devoted to the interests of the church and mankind. From the time of his death until the next Conference, the little society in Hampton was supplied with preaching by brethren whose sympathies and labors were enlisted in their behalf.

At the Conference held at Danville, Vt., July 5, 1838, REV. WILLLIAM PADMAN was stationed in Hampton. His labors, by the Divine blessing, were rendered successful in the awakening and conversion of some score of souls, but few of whom, however, were gathered into the Methodist church.

The next year REV. SAMUEL A. CUSHING preached a part of the year in Hampton, and REV. ABRAHAM M. OSGOOD, the remainder. In 1840, Mr. Osgood was returned and labored successfully with the struggling society the second year.

At the Conference held at Dover, June 23, 1841, REV. ABRAHAM FOLSOM was appointed to Hampton. He was careful to look after the financial interests of the church. Through his influence, the legal society was formed known as "The First Methodist Episcopal Society of Hampton." It was organized April 8, 1842. This society received two thousand dollars of the ecclesiastical fund of the town, in its distribution among the churches. Rev. Abraham Folsom died in 1872, and his wife, four years later. Both were brought to Hampton, and interred in Mr. Sewell W. Dow's lot in the cemetery.

At the Conference held at Newbury, Vt., June 22, 1842, REV. HORATIO N. TAPLIN was stationed in Hampton. He preached with good success for two years. In this, as well as every other station, he was greatly beloved, being a man of an excellent spirit. He baptized fourteen persons, some of whom are among the present active members.

Rev. Horatio N. Taplin was born at East Corinth, Vt., August 7, 1817. He was converted in the eighteenth year of his age, and joined the Church Street Methodist society, Boston. There he remained two years, when he became convinced that God called him to preach the gospel, and returned to Corinth, to make preparation therefor. Soon afterward, he entered the Newbury Seminary, where he remained two years, and received a local preacher's license. In May, 1841, he married Susan Ketchem, of Barre, Vt., and in June following, joined the New Hampshire Conference. He subsequently labored as follows: At South Newmarket, two years; Hampton, two years; Epping, two years; Manchester Center, one year; Landaff, two years; Enfield, one year; Sandwich, two years. In October, 1854, he was prostrated by typhoid fever, which destroyed his physical energies, and induced quick consumption. He rose on the morning of January 19, 1855, complained of faintness, and immediately expired, leaving a widow and three children. Brother Taplin was an acceptable preacher and a faithful pastor. In promoting the interests of Sabbath-schools and in gaining the affection of the young he excelled.

In 1844 REV. JOHN F. ADAMS supplied at Hampton; the following year REV. JAMES M. YOUNG. In 1856 REV. CHARLES H. CHASE was appointed here; and through his efforts, the parsonage was procured, at an expense of about six hundred dollars. The next preacher was REV. HENRY NUTTER, who remained two years. He was the first to occupy the parsonage, and before he left, a new church was built, at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars. It was dedicated by Rev. Benjamin R. Hoyt, in November, 1848. A good revival was enjoyed, and thirteen were baptized by the pastor. The next year, Rev. A. M. Osgood was reappointed here; followed by REV. IRA A SWEATLAND, in 1850, and REV. MATTHEW NEWHALL, in 1851.

In 1852 Rev. Abel Heath was appointed here by the Conference held at Nashua; but he was there taken with typhoid fever, and in a few days died. Mr. Newhall remained therefore, the second year, and labored faithfully and with good success. He was followed by REV. JAMES M. HARTWELL, one year. REV. JOHN ENGLISH came in 1854, and remained two years. He also enjoyed a good revival. Being an earnest and faithful man, he will be remembered with gratitude by many true friends in Hampton.

REV. JOHN W. JOHNSON, stationed here in 1856, preached with great acceptance for two years, and his labors were not in vain in the Lord. About twenty-two were baptized as the fruits of the revival.

The history of the church, to this point, was furnished by REV. NATHANIEL N. CHASE, who followed Mr. Johnson in the pastorate, and himself labored faithfully the next two years. Subsequently, he was stationed here one year more. Mr. Chase has since died, after a long and useful career as pastor of churches, and agent of the New Hampshire Bible Society. Succeeding pastors of the Hampton church have been:

Rev. Joseph Hayes 1860 Rev. Elihu Scott 1872-3-4
Rev. F. K. Stratton 1861-2 Rev. J. H. Knott 1875-6
Rev. S. F. Whidden 1863 Rev. J. P. Frye 1877-8
Rev. E. Lewis 1864 Rev. A. B. Carter 1879-80
Rev. N. L. Chase 1865 Rev. J. F. Spalding 1881-2-3
Rev. A. C. Coult 1866 Rev. H. B. Copp 1884-5-6
Rev. A. A. Cleaveland 1867-8 Rev. W. C. Bartlett 1887-8-9
Rev. G. W. Ruland 1869-70 Rev. C. M. Howard 1890
Rev. S. J. Robinson 1871 Rev. Noble Fisk 1891-2

REV. ELIHU SCOTT, the first pastor for a term of three consecutive years, after he became superannuated, removed permanently to Hampton, where he spent the last years of his life, revered by the entire community. Here his wife died, in 1884; and after four more years, he, too, was gathered to his fathers, in a good old age; having been a faithful preacher of the Word, and long a trusted officer of the Conference. Both were laid to rest in the Hampton cemetery.

In September, 1881, the church building was removed to its present site, nearer the centre of the town; and, largely through the untiring zeal of Mr. Spalding, the pastor, it was thoroughly and tastefully remodelled and furnished with a bell, at a cost of thirty-one hundred dollars and much gratuitous labor. The work was pushed vigorously, and the church rededicated, January 5, 1882, Rev. Dr. B. K. Pierce preaching the sermon.

Connected with this church is a sewing society, which has been carried on uninterruptedly for many years; the Ladies' Missionary Society is of more recent date; and an Epworth League was organized in the latter part of Rev. Mr. Bartlett's pastorate.

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