The Congregational Church of Bridport, located at the village, was organized by Rev. Lemuel Haynes, of West Rutland, June 30, 1790, with twelve members. February 29, 1794, Rev. Increase Graves was installed the first settled minister. The first house of worship was a frame structure, built during the year of organization, which is now a part of the dwelling which is owned and occupied by Miss Mariette Miner and her mother, situated south of the park in Bridport village. The present commodious brick building, capable of seating five hundred and fifty persons, was erected in 1851, costing $9,000. The society is now in a flourishing condition, with one hundred and seventy-eight members, a Sabbath-school numbering one hundred and forty pupils, and owns church property to the amount of $1,800. The present pastor is Rev. F. W. Olmsted, who has had the charge since 1883.
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The Methodist Episcopal Church, located at the village, was organized in 1800, and now has about sixty members. The church building was built in 1821 as a union church, and the Masonic society, which has a hall in the upper part of the building, owns an interest in it. The Sabbath-school, with Miss Anna Huntley, superintendent, has about fifty members. The stewards are Martin E. Wheeler, Lucius M. Taylor, John D. Nichols, George H. Burwell, Charles H. Grandey and E. R. Wolcott.
There is a nice little church standing in the west part of Bridport, about a mile from Lake Champlain, which was built by the Baptist society at an early day, which at this date stands empty and has for some sixteen years past, although in good repair and in modern style.
Among the curious documents of olden times in this town, we must make a place for the following, which comprises a bill presented to the town for the entertainment of the gathering at the installation of a preacher:
“February 29th, 1794.
“The town of Bridport to Pain Converse, Dr.
“For the entertainment of the Honorable Counsil and others at this installment of the Rev’nd Mr. Graves in said town, is as followeth:
£ s. d.
“To forty-six meals of victuals 2 6 0
“To hors batins fourteen……..0 5 0
“To hors keeping eight nights…0 6 0
“To two galands brandy……….1 5 0
“To one of rum ……………..0 9 6
“To one of wine……………..0 10 6
“To two quarts of Jinn……….0 5 0
“To two pounds loaf sugar…….0 4 0
“To sider…………………..0 7 0
Bridport, March 13th, 1794, Rec’d. the contents of the within acct., pr. Mr. Pain Converse.”
They must have had a good time.
At a previous town meeting they voted the installment to be at the dwelling house of Solomon Moss. Voted. Capt. Converse be appointed to provide accommodations for Council and others while in Bridport. Also voted. Rev. Sylvanus Chapin of Orwell, Dan Kent of Benson, John Griswold of Pawlet, James Murdock of Sangate, and the Middlebury minister with their delegates be invited.