North Windsor Baptist Church

 

HISTORY OF THE NORTH WINDSOR BAPTIST CHURCH

The following excerpt taken verbatim from the first two pages of its
records shows how the progenitor of the present North Windsor Baptist
Church originated.

Malta March 15, 1820

Council convened for the purpose of organizing a church consisting
of brethren from sister churches as follows:

From Harlem:

Dea. Salvanus Hatch
Bro. Thomas Giddins
Bro. Andrew Doe

 

 

From Whitefield:

Dea. Clemant Moody
Bro. E. Greenleaf

 

 

From Vassalboro:

Bro. H. Getchel
Dea. Thomas Hawes

 

 

From Malta:

Dea. John Waymouth
Bro. John Merrill

 

 

From Weld:

Elder Lemuel Jackson

 

First voted Elder Jackson moderator.

Second voted Bro. Getchel clerk

Third voted to examine the gifts of the members.

Said intended Church are the following members:

 

Males

Females

Wm. Wight
Gideon Barton
John Hallowell
David Leeman
Jason Pierce
Joseph Wight
Samuel Taylor
E. Barton
John Pierce
John Merrill
Nehemiah Ward

Dolly Wight
Pauline Pierce
Mercy Hallowell
Betsy Pierce
Lidia Pierce
Prudence Pierce
Salley Barton
Lucy Wyman
Lucretia Hunt
Betsy Merrill
Joanna Leeman
Betsy Proctor
Mary Ward

 

Fourth voted to establish said Church.

Fifth voted Elder Jackson give the rite hand of fellowship and
charge, and call them The First Baptist Church of Christ in Malta.

Sermon preached by Elder Jackson.

Thus the present North Windsor Baptist Church was born. The service was apparently held in the Lynn Hill school house, which seemingly continued to serve as meeting place for some fifteen years. It seems strange, but in the continuous minutes we have from 1820 to about 1900 there is no mention of a church being built. However Kingsbury's History of Kennebec County states it was built around 1837 during the pastorate of Wm. Bowler. Our minutes show that Elder Bowler was pastor from 1834 to 1837, so probably a year or two earlier than 1837 would be about right.

The first inkling we have of what the church was like comes in one of the spring minutes of 1871 when the members voted to repair and renovate the building. The building faced north and south, with a gallery or choir loft in the south end and pulpit in north end. Pews were owned by the members and faced south.

A committee of three was named by the chair to see what should be done and make recommendations to the members. The result was interesting to me. With a committee of only three a majority and a minority report were submitted for their consideration. The minority report was accepted which was tear down the gallery, build two small entries, leave pulpit in north end and turn seats around and repair them, cost six dollars each. The choir was to have seats between the entries. The dedication ceremony was held Aug. 16, 1871.

The early pastors were known as elders. Here is a list of them from 1820 to 1923:

Elder Jackson 1820 - ?
Elder White ?
Elder Rich ?
Elder Trask 1830-
Elder Bowler 1834-1837
Elder Stevens 1837-1839
Elder Cross 1839 - ?
Elder Hallowell 1847 - ? ?
Elder Goldthwait 1859-1864
Elder Emery 1864-1867
Elder Sargent 1867-1871
Rev. Hunt 1871
Brown 1871

Rev. Nelson 1882
Rev. Brady 1888-1894
Rev. Collins 1894-1896
1833Hawthorn 1896
Supplies from '96 to '99
Rev. Clark 1899-1903 (ordained 1901)
Jones 1903 - ?
Cook ?
Turner 1911-1914
Mr. & Mrs. Wakefield (co-pastors)
1914-1919
Thompson 1920-1923

During the pastorate of the Rev. Clark the church decided they should have a place for their pastor to live. So, in 1901, on the advice of the committee chosen to find a place, the Leonard Hallowell house on Lynn Hill and two acres of land were purchased for a parsonage. It served in this capacity until the early 20's when, because of the prevailing exodus of our young people from the country to greener pastures, the church was no longer able to support a full time pastor. So in 1926 it was decided to rent it, and in the early 40's it was sold to W. B. Pierce of Quincy, Massachusetts.

In 1912 memorial stained glass windows were installed dedicated to the families of former deacons and prominent parishioners. Following is a list of the names: Ira D. Barton and wife, Mary Jane Moody; Deacon John Hallowell and wife, Mercy Leonard; Deacon John Hallowell, Jr. and wife, Betsey Gaslin; Deacon Gideon Barton; Deacon Gideon Barton, Jr. and wife, Harriet Percival; Asel Robinson and wife, Lucy A. Merrill; Nathaniel Merrill and wife, Lucy Hallowell; Deacon C. Augustus Pierce and wife, Margaret E. Merrill; Elpha Pierce and wife, Bertha Houghton; Veranus F. Pierce and wife, Louise Merrill; and Sarah Pierce Mosher.

For the first eighty odd years the church belonged to several different associations but in 1903 it voted to join the Kennebec Association with which it has since been affiliated.

In 1914 horse sheds were built across the road from the church to house our equine friends from the elements during services.

No regular services were held at the church from 1923 to 1936, when the Baptist Association sent Peter Desknis to take charge of both the North Windsor Baptist and the Methodist church at the other end of town during his summer vacation. He was so successful in arousing interest that he was invited to return the next summer. As this was his last year in school, it was arranged that when he left, the Rev. Harold Nutter of Appleton would continue services through the fall and winter. At Mr. Desknis' last service appropriate exercises were held to celebrate the church's 117th anniversary. Mr. Pendleton, Secretary of the State Baptist Convention, Rev. Nutter, The Boynton Quartet, and a soloist on the xylophone from the Penney Memorial Church of Augusta participated.

After Mr. Nutter left, the church was again void of regular services until 1954, when the Bev. Winefred Reynolds decided to hold regular services there on Sunday evenings. Several families from this area, including the Suitters and Peaslees, who had been attending the South Church joined the North Windsor Baptist. Through their efforts the church has had regular services since. A Sunday school was started and has been highly successful.

After Mrs. Reynold's resignation in the fall, the church was served by supplies until the following summer.

In 1955 the North Windsor Baptist Church and the Coopers Mills Baptist Church decided to collaborate in the support of a full time pastor. With some financial help from the Convention they hired the Rev. Elmer Hellmuth. At first Rev. Hellmuth was domiciled in a private home at Coopers Mills, but the churches, having agreed that a parsonage was desirable, bought the Ida Fernald home at North Windsor, and after renovating and furnishing it Bro. Hellmuth moved in.

At Rev. Hellmuth's resignation in 1958 the Rev. Malcolm Brown was given a call. He served until 1963.

In the meantime, Coopers Mills having been forced to withdraw from the partnership the North Windsor church has been operating on its own.

The Rev. Harold Nutter followed Rev. Brown in Jan. 1963 and served until Nov. 1966. From Nov. until the next March we were supplied by lay preachers from surrounding areas principally from a layman's organization at Bath.

In March 1967 our present pastor, John Dunn, Jr., came to us and has served us faithfully and with distinction.

In the 60's there have been many improvements made in our church building. In 1960 it was voted to turn our church around facing east and west and place it on a concrete basement. A contractor was hired to carry this out. While the church was being moved services were held at Erskine Academy.

As soon as the building was moved, dedicated members of our congregation went to work, first to make our basement useful. A forced hot air furnace was installed. Then came cupboards, sideboards, tables, an electric stove, and refrigerator. Our young peoples organizations worked hard to buy chairs and movable petitions. Now we can have fellowship suppers and other social events and extra room for some of our Sunday school classes.

In 1964 the property adjacent to the church was purchased, making it possible to pipe water from the well to the church basement. With the installation of a hot water tank, water is now available for dishwashing.

As soon as the basement was completed, the same dedicated crew started on the auditorium. The moving had badly cracked the plaster walls and loosened some of the ceiling. The loosened spots on the ceiling were removed and re-plastered and the whole ceiling repainted.

Plaster and laths were removed from the walls, and after insulating them, birch paneling was applied. The boys are now in the process of installing two new outside doors and paneling the entries.

Things have happened at the parsonage, too. In 1965 a well was drilled and piped into the cellar. In July 1967 forced hot water baseboard heat was installed. Also a small room has been converted into a full bath.

The Lord has been good to the North Windsor Baptist Church and we trust its members will continue to accept the challenge to spread His gospel to this area and abroad.

We hope many of our members who have moved away may be able to come back on this our sesqui-centennial year and enjoy the new look of their old home church while listening to the preaching of the gospel as it is written.

Respectfully submitted,
Vinal B. Merrill

North Windsor Baptist Church
1912-1960
North Windsor Baptist Church
Present
History