The Baptist Church of Keene, NH
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The Baptist Church. – Baptists from Middleborough, Mass., located in the east part of Westmoreland, where they constituted a church in 1771. This family spread into the west part of Keene. Here a church of the same faith was recognized by on ecclesiastical council, on the 9th day of September, 1816, consisting of thirteen members. It was gathered under the ministry of Rev. Charles Cummings. The church was received into the Dublin Baptist Association, in October of that year. A small meetinG.house, with square pews and a gallery, was built that autumn, situated in that part of the town known as “Ash Swamp,” and was dedicated December 25, 1816. Worship was continued here at irregular periods, under many discouragements, till 11838, when Baptist preaching was commenced in the villager The effort was so, successful that a brick meetinG.house, 45×68] feet, on Winter street, was dedicated September 17. 1839r The interest in the village was started, and the house built, under the efficient labors of Rev. John Peacock. He baptized forty-six during the year and a half of his ministry. Rev. Mark Carpenter, late of Milford, was publicly recognized as pastor of the church on the 22d of April, 1840, and dismissed on the 3d of October, 1844, having baptized sixty into the fellowship of the church. He was succeeded by Mr. Horace Richardson, of Cornish, a recent graduate of Newton Theological .Institution, who was ordained May 7, 1845r He was dismissed April I, 1846. After him, Rev. Gilbert Robbins, late -of Rumney, took charge of the church, commencing his labors in August, of that year. He remained here eleven years, tendering his resignation in June, 1857r It was a time of sowing and not of reaping, though he had the privilege, in one associational year, of baptizing twenty-two.
In 1853 a convenient two-story parsonage, with a small barn, was built on residence of the late John Symonds, Keene, N. H.
They paid for all home expenses on an average of about $7.000.00 a year, for twelve years and they now have the reward of having their valuable church property nearly free from debt. Since 1872 the numerical increase of the church has been small, yet fully equal to any other periods of the same length, with one exception. During Mr. Eatons ministry, thus far, fifty-one have been added by baptism, and fifty-eight by letter. Still the diminution, by deaths and removals, has been almost equal to the additions. However, the church, through its entire history, has gradually increased from the original thirteen, in September, 1816, to 196 in March, 1885. The Sabbath-school is comparatively large and promising, consisting of eighteen teachers, 280 scholars, with an average attendance of about 13 K. A. C. Sprague, is superintendent The library numbers 850 volumes.