Apr112008

Londonderry Times without a Meeting House?

Londondery Meeting House now the First Parish Congregational Church in East Derry photo willeys book of Nutfield 1895One hundred and eighty years ago in 1827 a historic meeting inside the then Londonderry Presbyterian Meetinghouse, in what today is called the First Parish Congregational Church in East Derry split our local community’s in two. At that time the issue was a fight between the farmers of the Londonderry parish and the “more educated, wealthy people” of the Derry parish. The image (click for larger) is the Meetinghouse published in 1895 in Willey’s book of Nutfield.

Derry celebrated the day of the split this week.

HERE is a good story about the event in the Eagle Tribune by Shelley J. Thompson
HERE is a nice pictorial by Jarrod Thompson with audio by Mike Dean both of the Eagle Tribune

So what about the new Londonderry? What were all these “poor farmers” to do? The meeting house was a big part of Londonderry Life in those times. Not just used for religious services it was a place to assemble for Town Meetings and social events. A group gathered together and agreed to become “stockholders”. The cost of constructing the oldest Presbyterian Church in Londonderry was a staggering $4,000. This document was hand written by Francis D Anderson and J. D. Anderson, according the the Londonderry Historical Society one of the Anderson’s married an Annis of Annis Grain & Lumber. To read more about the Annis Empire in Londonderry see the Cohas Bottled Water site HERE. Just this week Londonderry Hometown Online News obtained this original document that you can examine when you read the rest of the story.

1837 Presbyterian Church in Londonderry photo c 1920, Londonderry Historical Society This image was published in “Images of America Londonderry” by Arcadia publishing by the Londonderry Historical Society. It is of the 1837 meeting house (Presbyterian Church) taken on Old Home Day in about 1920. Click the image for a larger version and click HERE for the Londonderry Historical Society’s website. If you would like your own copy of the book they are available to borrow at Londonderry Leach Library or you may buy them there too.

Read the rest of the story to see a copy (a original 1837 hand written copy) of the list of stockholders
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