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South Hampton Baptist Church - 10 Jewell Street South Hampton NH 03827

Our History



10 Jewell Street
South Hampton, NH 03827 

 The following report on the history of the South Hampton Baptist Church is based on information from the Church histories and State histories which sometimes differ. The material used herein is the most correct to the best of my knowledge. Abigail Carter and Mary Flanders were the first people in the area interested in the Baptist religion because they had heard the Dr. /Reverend Samuel Sheppard preach in Brentwood, New Hampshire. They were baptized on March 2, 1772, by him and a member of his church. Reverend Sheppard was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, in 1739, and had been a Congregationalist since July 4, 1756.

He became a doctor and practiced in Stratham, New Hampshire. It was there that he was introduced to the Baptist religion by Rachel Scammon who was from Rhode Island. At that time New Hampshire knew nothing about the Baptist religion. He was baptized by Reverend Hezekiah Smith of Haverhill, Massachusetts, in Deerfield in June1770. He began preaching after he was ordained on September 25, 1771. At the close of the Revolution, he moved from Stratham to Brentwood where he founded the Brentwood church and wrote a few books on the Baptist church. Eventually he founded 30 other churches. In 1774 Reverend Sheppard preached his first sermon in South Hampton. They met in private homes or at the Town Meeting House when it was not occupied by other denominations 12 religions in all. The Church of Christ (Congregationalist) was founded in 1742/3 when the town was founded from Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts. In 1779 the first person in town to be baptized was Anna Merrill, wife of John, by Reverend Sheppard. In 1780 South Hampton Church was called the Branch Church. Nearly all the meetings were held here and sometimes in Salisbury. All their business meetings were held in Brentwood. The first Baptist association was formed in 1785. In the Brentwood records the first time Salisbury was mentioned was in 1790.From 1793 to 1801 the meetings were held half the time in South Hampton and half the time in Salisbury at the “Shoestring Meeting House” which was located on Congress Street. It was called the “Shoestring Meeting House” because the front door latch was a piece of leather.

This chapel was used by the Baptists originally and was established by South Hampton residents. The south parsonage land was in Salisbury until 1741 when it came to be South Hampton; it was “For support of the Gospel Forever.” The south parsonage had 28 to 32 acres. It went from the Mill Road corner to opposite the pound and to the Powwow River which was very Narrow and then up the hill on the Mill Road. It is now called Jewell Street. The following people and organizations owned land on it: Barnard Jewell, James Jewell, Nathan Peter, Joseph Follansbee, Nathan Page, Jacob C. Noyes, Jonathan Pressey, and L. 0. Hatch, W. H. Fitts, the public buildings Town House, Barnard School, Baptist Church, District I School House, and the new burying ground. On May 20, 1828, the church land was purchased by a lease for 900 years and a note taken in payment from Merrill Flanders, Thomas Flanders, Ezekiel Woodman, John Sawyer, Amos Merrill, Abel Brown, Nathan Brown, Jr., Daniel Currier, Thomas S. Merrill, Richard Bartlett, and Samuel Flanders for $760. Construction of the building started in 1830 and finished in 1833. The church was dedicated on September 29, 1830. In the summer of 1832, the frame of the building was raised and the corner stone was laid. The church was formally admitted to the New Hampshire Association. The Baptist Church of South Hampton was organized September 9, 1830, with the following members: Deacon Thomas Flanders, Samuel Flanders, Priscilla Flanders, Elizabeth Flanders, Elizabeth Dow, Lydia Jewell, two Sarah Barnyards, Hannah Sawyer, and BetseyFlanders.On August 14, 1830, the First Free Baptist Church was organized with seven members: James Woodman, Eunice Woodman, Ezra Flanders, William Carr, Mary Carr, Dorothy Goodwin and Reuben Flanders. The first meeting was at James Woodman’s home with the Seven members present. The second Meeting was held at Reuben Flanders’ home and Elder Asia Merrill preached.

The first monthly church meeting was held at Levi B. Pierce’s on December 1. Ezra Flanders and Levi B. Pierce were chosen as deacons and James Woodman as clerk. On June 14, 1832, Elder Morrill preached at Moses Tuxbury’s home. The first record of the breaking of the bread was on November 20, 1831, at Reuben Flanders’ home.On January 16, 1833, the house of worship was dedicated by Reverend Elijah Foster of Salisbury. The enterprise of the building of the church was accomplished by six men: MosesTuxbury, Thomas Flanders, Samuel Flanders, Joseph Stockman, Benjamin Currier, and Charles Jewell. Hymn books were bought. In 1854 one-fourth acre of land was purchased for $220 for a parsonage which was built-in 1855. In 1912 the parsonage was destroyed by fire when the Whale Hilltop burned. It was rebuilt in 1913 with the insurance money and donations from members. The belfry was built on the church in 1858. In 1860 five people were dismissed from membership for not attending church, false stories, and profane language. The Temperance Society was formed and all members had to sign their names. At this time (1878) baptisms were done at Lake Attitash. On September 15 through 16, 1880, the Portsmouth Baptist Association held the 52nd Annual session at South Hampton. At the same time a semi-centennial service was held where Benjamin R. Jewell gave a religious history and a town history. In 1892/3 the State Convention contributed $100 towards tHe pastor’s salary.

In 1885 a church bell was donated by Nathaniel Currier. In 1886 a stove was acquired for the church and some of the services were held inBarnard Hall, especially the evening services. On July 9, 1893, hymnals for the choir were acquired and Reverend Edward Cotton was ordained A roll call of 34 present and 24 letters read and two former pastors present. In 1906 the church was remodeled by building the Stockman Room at a cost of $700?The church roof caught fire in the 1912 fire when the whole hilltop burned, but the church was saved by people throwing buckets of water on it. On March 24, 1910, church history was read with a roll call by George S. Page, Clerk. In October, 1917, the Women’s Baptist Missionary Society was formed.

In 1919 the church sent a letter to the state protesting the playing of baseball on Sunday. At this time we had 60 members. This same year we gave the pastor $2 for mileage to go to the convention. In 1920 the church was closed for three months because the pastor was sick. In 1923 the pastor’s salary was increased to $700. In 1924 the prayer meetings were held in the Stockman Chapel. Forty-one members were present out of 48. The long horse shed was removed. The first meeting of the Christian Education Society was held on August 29, 1929.In August 17, 1939, 90 people attended the 100 The anniversary. The church started in 1830with 10 members. The first year there were 14 baptized and two by letters. In 1940 there were299 members. The population of the town when it was formed was in the 400’s. It went up some and down some. In the early 1940’s there were about 350 People, but it has grown since then. We are around 800 in 2005. In the late 1930’s the church Was painted and new cushions and carpets were acquired. In The 1940’s the church acquired the flag and 36 hymnals. Also in the 1940’s a World – Wide Guild Candlelight Service was held. Then in the 1950’s another Sunday school room was made Upstairs, more painting was done, and the wood stove was removed. Between 1952 and 1953 the Jewell Room was added to the back of the church and outhouse. In the 1960’s the old parsonage And the front of the church was painted. In the 1970’s land was bought for new pars On age

One-half acre of land behind the cemetery (5 feet x 245 feet) for $10,000. The parsonage was built in 1972-73.We had a nice Baptist Youth Fellowship group of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students (25 boys and girls).In 1995 we had side paneled walls installed in the sanctuary. We also acquired a new electric organ for $3,595 and tuned the old pump organs. That same year the church nearly burned down when the house next door caught fire but was saved by the fire department. A sundeck porch was built and the bulkhead was repaired on the parsonage. The driveway was paved, the chimney was rebuilt as was the front hall, and the church stairs were painted. Then came a new well drilled for the parsonage and the church. Kitchen and furnace rooms were added onto the Jewel! Room and two rest rooms were built. The hot water furnace was installed in new furnace room. The Jewell Room floor was sanded and sealed. The front porch was rebuilt and a ramp which had been added a few years ago was removed. A new carpet was laid and the church ceiling was lowered. A new front door was installed. The Jewel! Room and the steeple were painted. The fire box was replaced. We acquired a new furnace, new sound system, motion light behind church, smoke alarm system, and emergency lights. The parsonage roof and windows were repaired. The parsonage cellar and church boiler room flooded and a sub pump was purchased. The main line from church to parsonage was leaking and had to be repaired. A new nativity scene was finished at 25 inches. We bought a new TV for Christian Education and a new copier. An 8-inch raised walkway to the parsonage was built, post in steeple was fixed and the beam was repaired. The beam over the sanctuary was repaired. New side doors and storm to parsonage were acquired. Plastic covers over cellar windows were purchased. Acquired a new stove and refrigerator for the parsonage as well as motion activated flood light behind parsonage. Also acquired a picnic table and a color copier.