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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Missionary Tour in Maine, 1798

Rev. Paul Coffin of Buxton in 1798 made a third tour of the frontier towns of Maine. Below are those entries in his journal that refer to places in Oxford County. Annotations in square brackets are my own.

Source: Collections of the Maine Historical Society, 1st Series, Vol. 4. (Portland, Me., 1856).
[p. 359]

Aug. 13, Rode to Windham.

14, Rode through Windham, instructed and gave books to two families and to one in Raymondton.

15, Raymondton. Instructed and gave books to the family of John Mitchell. Preached to a small audience from 2d Timothy, 3:14, 15.

16, Rode to Otisfield. Instructed and gave books to the families of Mark Leech and Obadiah Mann of Raymondton. Gave books to the families of Hancock and Holden of Otisfield. Instructed three families more in said town. Put up with Rev. Robie.

17, Stopped at Otisfield to shoe my horse. Preached from Luke 19:8.

18, Instructed the family of Samuel Wardwell of Phillips Gore and gave him Dodridges "Rise and Progress." Went to Craigie's farm1 and gave books to Widow Jordan, and Moses Abbot of Hebron. Rode to Norway and put up with Lyman Rust.

19, I Sabbath. Preached at Paris, two sermons from Ps.

1In Oxford.

[p. 360]
74:10 and two texts more; and one sermon at Norway from Prov. 5:22, 23.

Aug. 26, Preached at the house of David Andrews in Paris. With him, a good man, I had much religious discourse. My text was 2d Timothy 3:14, 15.

21, Called at Seth Carpenter's and gave counsel to his wife, and Taylor's sermon. Visited the wife of John Nason and gave her Hem. sermon. Counselled the wife of Abraham Bolster and gave her Taylor's sermon. Put up for the night with Messrs Ezekiel and Moses Merrill of Hebron. Brothers to Lucy, living at Buxton with John Appleton. Gave them Belknap's sermon with advice.

Aug. 22, A Mr. Bucknam came in this morning and said a Mrs. Potter of Poland, above ninety years of age, never felt pain in her life only once by the sting of a wasp. Gave instruction to the family of John Stedman, and a bible and Hemm. sermon. They are Congregationalists. His wife was serious, sensible and agreeable. Conversed much with her. Dined with my old friend Asa Bearce's. Preached from Matthew 5:23-24.

Aug. 23, Left Hebron and rode to Buckfield, guided by a lad, Josiah Prat of Hebron, to whom I gave a testament. Gave Mr. Buck, John Belknap's sermon, and Hemm. sermon to Benjnmin [sic] Spaulding; and a primer to the children of Isaac Foster.

Aug. 24, Rode to Buckfield-mills. There are two brothers by the name of Andrews, money getters in trade, with a large house and a shop; and a Mr. Record with a large house begun.

From this centre is a good road west to Paris, north to Butterfield, now Sumner, and N. E. to Livermore. Preached from 2d Timothy, 3:14, 15.

[p. 361]
Aug. 25th. All preaching is thought by many here to be needless; and the "Age of Reason" is too sweet to the people. Oh! The bad effects of lay teachers of several sorts and of deistical writers, when these follow, as here, great ignorance and neglect of the means of grace. How sad is the case of the people in such hands. The low state of religion in this place, and the corruption of principle too fully prove such a bad case.

Aug. 26. II Sabbath, Buckfield. It being rainy, I preached to about six score people from Mark 16:15, 16, and Matt. 5:23, 24. I lost about half my hearers I believe by the rain. What I had, have attention. Butterfield is now incorporated and made two towns, Sumner and Hartford.

Aug. 27, Monday. Sat out for Livermore, through part of Hartford. Called at Joseph Wescot's of Buckfield and gave his daughter, Nancy, Hemmenway's sermon. Called at his daughter Keen's in Hartford, and gave her the "Design of Christianity," and to her sister Betsey a primer. Called and dined at John Cole's. Prayed with the family. Called at Mal. Bartlet's and gave him Hemmenway's sermon, and put up for the night. He was from old Plymouth, his wife from Falmouth. Gave their daughter Almira a primer. These are serious and uncorrupted folks living in the centre of Hartford.

Aug. 28. Tuesday. Preached from Acts 17:30, 31. Freeman Ellis and wife, and Bartlet and wife are good folks. I was kindly treated by both families. Ellis has a grown daughter, deaf and dumb, but sensible, and carefully industrious. She ironed me a shirt respectfully; and will, her mother says, always remember me, as differing from the Baptists, by baptising infants.

Aug. 29. Wednesday. Called at John Ames', and his wife

[p. 362]
being sick, called in the family of his brother and prayed for them both. Gave them religious advice, and Hemmenway's sermon to John. Visited Moses Pollard's family, and gave him Belknap's sermon, with advice. Called at Samuel Atwood's in Livermore and gave instruction and Hemmenway's sermon. Put up agreeably at Dr. Hamblin's in Livermore.

Aug. 30. Livermore. Dr. Hamblin. His wife, house and situation are all agreeable. Visited David Learned's family and being unwell, spent the day with his pleasant and serious couple. Gave them instruction and Hemmenway's sermon. She is quite modest and obliging, and gave me a successful cordial for my cholic. Preached at Dr. Hamblin's from 2d Timothy 3:14, 15. Gave instruction, and a Psalter and primer to Daniel Lovewell's wife. Invited by the wife of Abijah Munroe, put up with them for the night. He had just sprung his net on six dozen pigeons, and took them all. To take a whole flock is a common thing with him. This is near my friend Morse, the excellent blacksmith, near Turner.

Aug. 31. Livermore, Friday. Grasshoppers were hurtful here, and in several other places between this and Windham. This town has about one hundred and thirty families, two-thirds grown in three years; much divided, having many Baptists, and two of them ministers, and one Methodistical preacher. They are superstitious, ignorant and predestinarian. Preached at Morse's to a small audience from Acts 17:30, 31. Returned to Munroe's and put up for the night. He and his wife are sensible and agreeable.

Saturday, Sept. 1, There were in this place six pair of twins, under five years. The road from Rocomeco [now Canton] through Livermore and Turner is pretty straight about fifteen miles,

[p. 363]
and makes Livermore look much better to me than it did last year. Went to Deacon Livermore's and put up at that good house. He and son have about fifty excellent cattle, many sheep and horse, and an orchard. Their house is large and high, of four rooms and two chimneys. They have four barns and many sheds. Fayette lays east of this and the houses are in sight on high land. From the Deacon's to Jay meeting house is six miles, to Sandy River seventeen, to Portland sixty-three; to Turner fifteen.

Sept. 2. III Sabbath. Livermore. Preached at the School-house from Luke 2:13, 14 and Matthew 5:23, 24. Then rode to Jay, by Squire Richardson's over Noyes' ferry, about eight miles. Put up with Samuel Craft. From the ferry to his house is a good road three miles.

Sept. 3. Monday. Jay. Preached from 2 Tim. 3:14, 15. Craft has a married son, living with him and another near him, whose wife is a sister to Parker's wife of Standish. They are yet Christians of the old stamp; and steady, good folks. The sister to Parker's wife was very respectful and attentive; as indeed was her sister and all of the three families. Gave a testament to Moses Craft, one to Thomas Allen and one to Ezra Fuller all of Jay.

[The next day, Rev. Coffin proceeded to Farmington through Tyngtown (Wilton).]


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