A Curious Early Church History

Author unknown

(Original hand-written document transcribed by Sarah Newell)

[Comments in square brackets added by Bruce Komusin, the webmaster.]

GREAT CRANBERRY ISLAND
EARLY CHURCH HISTORY

1.  Sewing Circle organized May 1860 and continued till May 1866 for the purpose of raising money to build a meeting house.

2.  Circle consisted of 34 members.  At the expiration of two years [from founding, i.e. by 1862] 18 of those 34 members had left at various times and formed and joined a new Circle also working for a meeting house, but not with or for the original one proposed.

3.  Said 18 members left in the circle fund (which could not be drawn out according to agreement) all the way from 2.64 up to 7.51 but two members having 7.51 but several leaving 7.41 amounting in all to 85.34 which the committee giving to the sum 14.64 made two free pews.  [All figures are taken to be dollar amounts.  Thus the total sum was $99.98, roughly $100, and each pew cost $50.]

4.  August 1866 the original Circle through a building Committee had the house built the chairman of said Committee owning the land but promising to give deed of same to the pew holders respectively as soon as the pews should be disposed of by sale.  The Com. furnishing $2400 to pay for house.

5.  August 28 & 29 were the days legally appointed for the sale of Pews in said house.

6.  Meeting house dedicated as Union house Sept. 11th 1866. Steeple blew off in February 1878

7.  Meeting house closed in 1884 for the reason that repairs were needed and after repeated attempts could not get a sufficient number of the stock holders together who were willing to expend a dollar to hold a legal meeting.

8.  In 1886 the house having stood on land twenty years and no pews being sold in that time by the Com. but rather unpaid assessments had accumulated which the owner refused to pay upon several of the pews.  The Chairman duly notified the stock holders to redeem the house or he should legally take possession which he did no one offering or appearing to offer any resistance, and in the name of the Chairman of the building Com. it lay on his hands.

9.  April 1895 The house was opened for a religious meeting preached by Rev. F. Gardiner an Episcopalian.

10.  During those eleven years the house had been opened several times for the use of funerals and Christmas festivals.

11.  May 4th 1896 a bargain made on the 29th day of January previously was consummated whereby Rev. C. E. Harwood and Associates purchased of Wm. P. Preble twenty five pews in the Union Meeting house with deed of land of same.

12.  From the 29th of Jan. to the 4th of May [1896] Notices were posted on the meeting house and at the Post Office "for all persons to bring in deed of his or her pew, on which to have deed of land recorded (as per agreement promised thirty years before for a final settlement of the meeting house business."

13.  When the bargain was consummated on the 4th of May 1896 with Rev. C. E. Harwood these notices were taken down and filed away with other meeting house matters, leaving at that time seven and one half pews which were entitled to deed of land, without such, as no deed had been asked for, and rendering such optional then whether same was ever given.  But even in this present year Mr. Preble has given deed of land when asked to do so and will even now, probably grant the others deeds.

Will.

So to the Will found by the Administrator, it says. "For the use of the people of this island."  What is to be done with the people of Sutton's Island; to say nothing of those holding but one pew on Little Cranberry Island?

As to the Deed given of those twenty five pews, purchased by C. E. Harwood and associates in the Union meeting house for the sum of $500.00?  "The Agent who completed that purchase is gone.  The question now arises.  Who are the associates?  Naturally one would infer the associates were the owners of the house, those who paid their assessments.  The next question arises.  Who are the owners?  Those stock holders who have legal deeds of pews.  Now another and more difficult question presents itself.  Who owns those twenty five pews?  The associates - supposed & agreed later to be trustees which chosen - donors of that five hundred dollars paid for same in so far as each donor contributed.  Mr. Wheelwright as donor of one hundred dollars paid for five pews and is consequently the nearest associate.  [now the pews are $20 each?]  One who gave ten dollars of that five hundred gave it with the verbal agreement that Mr. Harwood was to receive one hundred dollars from the Missionary Society and the church to be in the Society during the time he remained here, then when he left if the people desired to take it from the Society - by repaying the one hundred dollars with interest at 6% they had the privilege.  Twenty five dollars also devoted by him to that fund, was entrusted in his hands, for the purchase of covering for pulpit and a chandelier - raised expressly for those purposed.

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