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Our Church History

The Second Baptist Church was formed Dec. 21, 1820 at the schoolhouse at Cathance Landing, now Main Street, Bowdoinham, with 27 charter members. Daniel Pierson was the first preacher. This church soon became what was known as the new School Baptist, and separated themselves from the old creed in 1834 because of doctrinal differences.

In 1836, the church building was built almost wholly by Captain William Purington who was a life-long friend and generous supporter of the church. The new church building was dedicated in June 1837. In 1850 the commissioned William B.D. Simmons organ(which is still played) was installed (see picture below). About 1860, the church was raised and a vestry added as a basement. The church was also thoroughly repaired and remodeled at that time.  


(The First Baptist Church organized on May 21, 1731) became very large, covering much territory for one church, so they formed a new society called the Second Baptist Church,*on December 21, 1820, at Cathance Landing. The charter members, who formed the new church were—Daniel Parsons, Urial Huntington, Wm. Denham, John Rogers, Robert Jack, Richard Coombs, Wm. Purington, Robert Staples, Rachel Pearsons, Betsy Huntington, Sarah Springer, Rosanna Coombs, Jane Fisher, Isabella Henry, Jane Staples, Sarah Denham, Polly Colby, Rebecca Ross, Elizabeth Purington, Emma Summer, Eunice Bloomore, Abigail Graves, Delia Huntington, Mercy Ross, Abigail Macomber, Martha Graves and Betsy Stewart. The council were from the 2nd church in Litchfield; the 1st church in Bowdoin and the 1st church in Lisbon. This council proceeded to organize the church by electing Wm. Stinson, Moderator of the council, and Urial Huntington, Clerk. This church soon after became what is now known as the new School Baptist, and separated themselves from the old creed in 1834; and the new church building was dedicated in June, 1837.

* For reasons which are apparent to close students of Baptist interests at that early time, it is believed that the real ground for this division was not so much an over-crowded church membership as a difference of doctrinal belief. The anti-mission sentiment, along with other beliefs that mark the standard faith of the Old School Baptists, had been accepted by many of the members of the First Baptist church. Therefore, those members who had continued in the Regular Baptist faith, naturally found their environment unfavorable for developing the Missionary spirit. So, in an orderly and regular manner they were formally dismissed from the First Church in order to form themselves into the Second Baptist Church, the same to be located in Bowdoinham village.

Note: according to tradition, the First church became divided on the questions of salaried ministry, Sunday schools, revival meetings and missions

 from “The History of the Town of Bowdoinham 1762-1912” by Silas Adams (pg. 51)


BOWDOINHAM, SECOND CHURCH. This church is the offspring of the first church, and although the old stalk has decayed and fallen, the branch lives and flourishes. It was organized Dec. 1820, with twenty-seven members, and is situated in the pleasant village of that town. Rev. Daniel Piersons was then elected pastor, and served the church about six years in the office, and still remains a worthy member. Since his resignation the church has enjoyed preaching at stated times, by Elders R. Milner about two years, John Butler, E. W. Cressy, W. T. Sargent, and William O. Grant. [Wm. Bailey is now their pastor, 1845.] In 1837 the church and society was accommodated with a new and convenient house of worship, built principally by Wm. Purington, one of its worthy members. The first and only revival in this community of Baptists was in 1840, under the labors of Mr. Cressy, by which the church was considerably enlarged. It is now a flourishing church, and is exerting a healthful influence over the village. It has sixty-nine members.

taken from “A History of the Baptists in Maine” (1845) 
(for more information on the establishment of Baptists in Bowdoinham, – read from page 86)


Baptists in Bowdoinham.

The first church society in town is said to have been the Baptist, later known as the “Old School Baptist.'” All records of this society previous to 1820 have been destroyed by fire. On that year the society separated, the division being made on matters of doctrine and the second Baptist society was formed by 27 members who constituted the progressive element.

This church was organized in the schoolhouse at Cathance Landing. Daniel Pierson was the first preacher. It was not until 1845 that mention was made in the records of the church of protracted religious services. These were followed by the baptism of eleven persons. The following year the Baptist church was built, and during the next four years 35 were added to the church. Much commendable work has been wrought by the labors in this church; she has sent out many who have become useful and honorable citizens, among whom are Orrington Lunt and Arthur Patten.

About 1860 the church building was raised and a vestry added as a basement, the church was also thoroughly repaired and remodled. The parsonage, located on Spring Street, was purchased in 1898.

The following is nearly, if not quite a complete list of the pastors who have officiated at this church: Revs. Daniel Pierson, Reuben Milner, John Butler, Edwin Oressy, Wm. 0. Grant, Wm. Bailey, Alvah Felch, Moses Kelley, Wm. Day, D. C. Litchfield, Moses Hanscom, Allen Barrows, Wm. Beavins, A. B. Pendleton, L. E. Grant, Sanford A. Kingsbury, A. A. Cambridge, G. R. Barstow, Geo. F. Jenkins, Nelson S. Burbank, J. B. Bryant, Ernest A. Royal, J. Frank Jones and Henry A. Brown, who came to the charge last year. The present membership is 48.

~ from the Topsham & Bowdoinham Register 1905

Second Baptist Church  1912
Photo from “The History of the Town of Bowdoinham 1762-1912” by Silas Adams

1850 Pipe Organ

Our sanctuary is the home to a rare 1850’s William B.D. Simmons 1 manual 5 rank organ. This instrument was partially restored in 2003 and is in excellent working condition. The organ is used at least monthly in worship, and has also been featured in special concerts.

Bowdoinham Second Baptist Pastors

NAME:                              BEGAN:               ENDED:

Daniel Pierson                    12/21/1820          1827

Reuben Milner                     1827                    1829

John Butler                         1830                    ?

E. W. Oressy                       ?                         ? 1840

W. T. Sargent                      ?                         ?

William O. Grant                  ?                         ?

William Bailey                      ? 1845                 ?

Alvah Felch                          ?                         ?

Mid. Kelley                          4/24/1855           7/2/1855

William Day                         1/29/1856           9/21/1856

Daniel Litchfield                   10/23/1856          2/16/1858

Moses Hanscom                  10/23/1858          5/4/1861

William Beavins                   1/4/1868               ?

A.B. Pendleton                     11/5/1870             ?

L.E. Grant                            9/1/1872               ?

Moses P. Kelly                      4/1881                  ?

Sanford Kingsbury                 ?                          ?

A.A. Cambridge                     ?                          ?

G.R. Barstow                         ?                          ?

George Jenkins                      ?                          ?

Nelson Burbank                     ?                          ?

J.B. Bryant                            ?                          ?

Ernest A. Royal                     6/20/1895           3/6/1897

J. Frank Jones                       12/19/1897         6/21/1903

Henry A. Brown                     11/15/1903         12/18/1904

Charles E. Gould                    8/31/1905           6/23/1907

Myles W. Reed                       11/1/1907           4/25/1915

Frank Long                            3/19/1916          11/19/1916

F.S. Leathers                         7/10/1921             ?

Ella Nash & Alice Whittier        7/23/1922            5/1930

P.J. Quigg (part-time)             6/27/1930            3/15/1931

Leroy Cleveland (pt-time)       6/14/1931            1932


** Services discontinued **    9/25/1932             ?


Archie Craig                          6/1/1941              8/29/1943

Paul West                              11/14/1943         10/27/1945

Robert Smith                         1/13/1946            3/28/1948

Horace Moffatt                       6/20/1948           12/17/1950

Ralph Champlin                      6/1951                3/25/1956

Donald Taylor                        7/1956                 5/21/1960

John Young                            7/3/1960              1/1965

Eugene Dawson                      3/1965                6/11/1967

Arthur Veno                           1/1968                 3/1972

John Godfrey                          1/1/1973             6/6/1976

Paul Mitchell                            6/13/1976           6/1/1981

Gary Knox                              12/6/1981           7/6/1986

Herbert Hixon                         4/26/1987            9/25/1994

Charles Reed                          3/19/1995           12/2000

Kenneth Carr                          6/2002                2/2003

Jonathan Stratton                    10/1/2004            7/31/2014