Meeting-house in Chesterville was raised June 15, 1815. The dimensions
were about forty-five by thirty-six feet, with nineteen feet posts. It
was put up mostly by the Congregationalists and Baptists, and was
started by voluntary subscription. It was boarded and the roof was
shingled, so that a Sabbath meeting was held in it on the 16th of July
of the same year. The stand for the preacher was made of rough planks
placed on carpenter's sawhorses, and two of them were the pieces of a
plank which broke under two men while placing the rafters in raising.
The men saved themselves from falling with the plank by catching on the
timbers, although one of them had a broad axe in his hand. The seats,
too, were all rough and temporary. The house was clapboarded, the doors
were hung and the pulpit built within the next two or three years, but
the pews were not made till 1820. The previous year the pews were sold
and conveyed according to a plan, for enough to pay for the house; at
which time some other denominations became owners. After several years
it was re-clapboarded and painted white, and the pulpit, which had been
high, lowered down. It was used for meetings on the Sabbath and at
other times, on its first location, a little southeast of the Center
Mills, till March 1851. Rev. Jotham Sewall preached the first, and Rev.
Samuel Wheeler the last sermon in it, as it then stood. A few of the
choir, with the same leader, attended on both occasions, although the
term between them was almost thirty-six years."
REMOVAL OF MEETING-HOUSE.
"March 25, 1851, the
taking down of the Meeting-house was commenced. This was effected
without accident, except that Abner Pierce was rendered temporarily
lame by the swinging of a post which struck him near the hips. The
house thus demolished was removed to Keith's Mills, or North
Chesterville, where it was rebuilt in a different form the same year,
and dedicated in December. The dimensions at the sills and beams are
the same as before, but it contains a less number of pews, for a piazza
occupies five feet across one end. The posts are shorter, the roof
steeper, the windows fewer and larger, and a belfry is added. Here
hangs a bell, weighing about 400 pounds purchased by Rev. Jotham
Sewall, a year or two before his death. This is the first and the only
bell in the town."
MEETING-HOUSE AT CHESTERVILLE CENTER.
"While the first
Meeting-House was being rebuilt at Keith's Mills another Meeting-House
was erected and finished at Chesterville Center. This house is somewhat
huger than that at North Chesterville and likewise has a belfry. Both
houses are union houses, and they are the only Meeting-Houses in town.
Some of the inhabitants in the southern part of the town own pews in
North Fayette Meeting-House, situated about a half-mile south of the
town line. Similarly situated are some in the north-east part of the
town who attend meetings in the union Meeting-House at Farmington
"The first musical
instrument owned and used in Chesterville was a bass-viol brought by
Jotham Sewall when he removed his family if not before. Several of the
kind have been made by Jacob Ames, and perhaps by others at a later
day, as well as violins and tenor viols. The first flute owned in the
town was Joseph Bradbury's, about the year 1800. The first, and so far
as the writer knows, the only, piano-forte ever in the town, was in the
family of Jacob Safford, about 1840, or perhaps earlier. At a later
date a few melodeons were owned and used in Chesterville. These were
soon superseded by reed organs made in New Sharon. In a few cases these
have been, and still are used advantageously to help church music.
About 1855 Lathrop C. Tilton commenced business at the Center Village.
His employment has been preparing lumber and making pipes for wind
organs, which he sends to Boston. Since commencing his business here he
has built an instrument of this kind, which is not only the first in
the town, but the earliest manufactured here, and probably in the
county. It was finished in 1857, and placed in the Center Village
Meeting-house for the sum of two hundred dollars. The instrument is
eight feet in height, three feet in width, and six feet long. Its
compass is four and a half octaves. It has six stops named as follows;
viz., Principal, Diapason. Bass, Open Diapason Treble, Melodia Treble,
Dalciana, and Flute. Its longest pipe is four feet three inches, — four
by five inches. It has sufficient power to fill the house well. It
appears to be correctly tuned, making excellent and pleasant music."
Chesterville Center Union Meeting House