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Minister Charged with Immorality

 

The Congregational Church built a new meetinghouse in 1856 just below the brick store. Isaac Adams and Joseph Wentworth donated money and land for the parsonage. But there was alot of difficulty getting a minister who pleased the congregation. With the proximity of other churches in the area it drained the congregation, and the last regular service was held in 1880.

The White Church had been built in 1825. Its congregation had always had a high level of religious acitivity. In 1880, the Sabbath School had a membership of 150 and the North Sandwich Ladies Benevolent Association formed as early as 1853. In July 1887, the Reverend David Calley baptized fourteen new converts in the Swift River at Weeds Mills. All seemed to be going so well, and then disaster struck.

In June of 1897, the pastor of the First Freewell Baptist Church, the Rev. H. B. Huntoon, was tried by a "council of ministers on charges of immorality and indecency. He had previously abruptly left town. On June 24, he was found guilty. According to the Sandwich Reporter, this episode angered many bitter feelings against  the church.

This dissension was just the beginning. In Jan. 1898, Rev. E.L. Krumreig was invited to the White Church to hold evangelical services. At the end of his month's trial, it seems that many parishioners disliked the man and by a vote of twelve to six church leaders voted not to hire him. They accused the Reverend Krumreig of not bringing truthful recommendations to the church.

The rift within the church was such that in March 1898 steps were taken by the Krumreig supporters, among whom were Daniel S. Watson, Walter S. Tappan, Frank Tilton, Charles Ames, and John Atwood, to start a new church. This church, to be called the Messiah Church, was built on land donated by Daniel Tappan and R.S. Batchelder in Whiteface village. The building was finished in Nov. 1899. Then to what must have been the congregation's astonishment, the Reverend Krumreig abruptly resigned, to take effect in March 1900, saying it was "within the Divine Plan."

His replacement was Edwin Bundy, some of whose paintings hang in the Sandwich Historical Society. The Rev. Bundy remained with the Messiah Church for years, and the church served the neighborhood even after regular services ceased.

The most enduring congregation in North Sandwich  was that of the Quakers. To be a Friend, or Quaker, in Sandwich or anywhere else always meant belonging to a wider community than a single congregation or indeed a town. Quarterly meetings in Sandwich were attended by Friends from towns as distant as Berwick, Maine or Rochester or Dover, New Hampshire.

In a short history that John Hoag wrote, "Friends in Sandwich," he stated that by 1833 there were 700 members of the Society, more than a quarter of the population of the town. However, by 1884, only 67 Friends were left in town. In one year, 60 Hoags went west from Sandwich.

 

 

 

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