The Rockingham Meetinghouse

The Rockingham Meetinghouse. Photo provided

Below is some history from “The Connecticut River Valley in Southern Vermont and New Hampshire by Lyman Hayes, 1929.” It relates to building the meetinghouse:

“Mrs. Ezekiel Weston was the daughter of David Haselton, who was born in 1791. Mrs. Weston says that she distinctly remembers that her grandmother, Jane Haselton, wife of Richard Haselton, related to her that her eldest child, Uriel (Mrs. Weston’s uncle), was born on the 6th day of June, 1787, and that on the 9th day of June of the same year, before departing for the raising of the meeting house, her husband Richard, came into the house and bade her and their baby, who was then only three days old, goodbye, expecting, or fearing, at least, that he might be killed at the raising, but, on the contrary, returned in safety to his family after the house was raised. And further, my brother, E.W. Allbee, says he distinctly remembers hearing our father, Ebenezer Allbee, who was born on the 17th of April, 1768, say that he was at the raising, being then 19 years of age, and that it was in June, 1787, but he does not recollect the day of the month. The statement of Mrs. Weston fixes the precise date as June 9, 1787, of which there can be no doubt.

“An aged man living in Greenfield, Mass., in 1887, in a letter to A.N. Swain of the Bellows Falls Times about the old meeting house building says:

“It was my good fortune to have met General Fuller several times during the summer of 1816, who was the master builder of this old house. I was told at that time that when all was ready Mr. Fuller quietly took his place on the beam and went up with the front broadside, as was customary in those days. At the time I saw him he lived in the Dr. Campbell house, so called, now owned and occupied by Rodney Wiley. I think it must have required three or four extra men to carry Mr. Fuller up, for at the time I saw him he was good for at least 250 pounds.

“A letter written by an old man living in Nashua, N.H., July 7, 1884, gives the following additional details of the ‘raising’:

The Rockingham Meetinghouse interior. Photo provided

“I can remember any event told me 70 years ago easier than incidents that took place five years ago. The year I was 16 years old my father died in Rockingham and I was obliged to work out from home. I went to work for old General Fuller. He lived one mile from the middle of the town and was the man who built the meetinghouse. He gave me a full account of the time they had at this raising. After he got everything ready the old General took a bottle of rum in one hand, a tumbler in the other and stood on the plate of the bent on the south side, then he gave the order to put it up in that position. He rode up on the plate, and he was a man weighing 200 pounds. When they had got it up he stood on the plate, drank his health to the crowd below, then threw his bottle and tumbler down and called for the ladder, coming down amid long and loud cheering.

“The Rockingham meeting house is 56 feet long and 44 feet wide. It was built of heavy old growth pine timber, portions of the frame and roof being 14 by 16 inches square, which must have required the combined efforts of a large force of men to raise in sections, or ‘bents.’

“Without doubt serious accidents occurred at times at those ‘raisings’ of olden times, as feared by Richard Haselton, and described below:

“At the raising of the present church building in the village of Langdon, N.H., in June of 1842, a portion of the heavy frame fell killing one man and seriously injuring 15 or 20 others.

“March 15, 1804, Rev. Samuel Whiting posted the following unique, but expressive, notice upon the door:

“Notice – John Parks Finney and Lydia Archer, of Rockingham, came to my house, and having been published agreeably to law, but he was a minor and not having his father’s consent, I refused to marry them. They, however, declared that they took and considered each other as husband and wife, meaning to live and do for each other accordingly.”


This week’s old saying is from Larry Seldom Wright regarding heaven or hell. “It’s doesn’t matter to me. I have friends in both places.”



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