The following is taken directly from The Town Register Gorham and Buxton 1905 compiled by Mitchell, Daggett, and Bassett.
1740- Settlement began about this time.
1743- Garrison house erected at Salmon Falls on account of Indian troubles. First meeting house erected.
1744- Rebecca Chase (m Parker) born, first white child born in Buxton
1749- Settlement greatly revived.
1754- Fort erected at Pleasant Point.
1761- Old burying-ground on the meeting-house lot conveyed to the plantation by Isaac Hancock. First public school opened.
1764- Effort made to have the town incorporated.
1772- Act incorporating Buxton, the seventh town in Maine, passed July 17. First election held in Meeting house May 24, 1773.
1785- Great freshet destroyed by mills and bridges.
1792- 335 Polls intown over age of sixteen.
1795- First mills built at Moderation Falls.
October, 1798 The following people signed the petition to become a "religious Baptist society," splitting from the Congregational Church. They established their church in Coxhall (now Lyman). (4).
Benjamin Bradbury Joel Milliken
Joseph Hobson Daniel Hanson
Benjamin Leavitt Joseph Hanson
Benjamin Elwell Theoder Atkinson
Jonathan Martin Samuel Worth
Jacob Stevens Joseph Atkinson
Jabez Sawyer Jr John Thoompson
John Lord William Davis
John Came John Rolfe
Nathan Elden Jr Ebenezer Redlon
Theoder Elwell Jonathan Berry
Henry L Rolfe Edmund Knight
Joseph Billings John Rolfe Jr
Ephraim Woodman Nelson Fogg
John Dennet Edmund Flood
John Atkinson Stephen Hopkinson
Limeul Nutter Jabez Sawyer
Moses Woodman Samuel Rounds
Clement Denne John Palmer
Stephen Prescut Jacob Palmer
Stephen Prescut Jr Josiah Libbey
Thomas Atkinson Ephraim Sands III
Benjamin Bradbury Jr Samuel Sands
JNO Woodman Samuel Hobson
Samuel Knight Joseph Rankings
Thomas Harmon Jacob Durborn
Joseph Durborn Jonathan Bangs
Dominecus Harmon Nathan Elden
Jabez Bradbury Abner Woodsum
Abiather Woodsum Caleb Hopkinson
Abel Knight Stephen Woodman
Enoch Wthiney Brice Boothby
Jaremiah Smith Daniel Thombs
William Hasaltine Chase Parker
(This picture is from about 1910.)
The 2nd church established in Buxton was recognized on 18 Dec, 1799 and called "The Baptist Church of Buxton and Saco." They began with 10 people who had been dismissed from the Baptist Church in Coxhall (now Lyman), with a total of 14 people, of whom Abner Flanders was one. (1,2)
In 1801 the Baptist Society, set off from the Congregationalists, were permitted to hold their meetings in the Buxton Centre schoolhouse until they built a house of worship.
In June 1802 the church was built at Elden's Corner (now Buxton Center), with Elder Abner Flanders as their first settled pastor. (4)
Rev. Abner Flanders
The first pastor was Rev. Abner Flanders, who came from Salisbury, NH. He was ordained on 12 Oct, 1802. Rev Flanders preached at Buxton Centre (the North Church) and in Saco (the South Church, until the South Church closed. He continued to pastor the Buxton Centre church until 4 May, 1829 when feeble health caused him to resign.
"His disposition as a man and his character as a christian and a minister, insured for him the esteem and confidence of all who knew him. (1)"
He continued to preach occasionally until 17 June, 1847 when he went home to be with the Lord. (1,2,4)
In 1825 the church at Buxton Centre was reorganized with Chase Parker and 54 others forming the North Baptist Church and with Elder Flanders remaining as their pastor until retiring in 1829.
On 2 June 1825 they were established as the North Church under the leadership of Rev Abner Flanders until his retirement in 1829. The church (or meetinghouse) was also rebuilt in 1831. (1,2,4)
Pastors Through the 1800s (1,2,4)
1830-1832 Rev A Wilson (+75 members)
1834 Rev Samuel Robbins
"Rev William Bailey was ordained on 1 April 1840 and dismissed 10 March 1844; his labors being much blest, and 53 were added to the church upon their profession of faith in Christ. (1)"
April 1841 Steeple & Bell added to the church.
Rev H.B. Gower... was ordained July 1848 and dismissed upon his own request, Oct. 1849 to go to another church.
Rev Adam Wilson preached often for several years as needed.
Around 1850 attendance was approximately 95 people. Since 1799, 175 people had been added to the church throughout the years.
1850. Rev N.W. Williams
1852 Rev Ivory M Thompson (He was ordained 12 Jan, 1853 and dismissed in 1859.)
1859-1862 George E Tucker
1862-1864 H.B. Marshall
1865-1871 O.. Richardson
1871-1876 J.M. Burtt
In 1872 The church was remodeled & rededicated. The Portland Press on Friday, 24 May, 1872 wrote a history & description of that re-dedication day, which had events all day!
1877-1879 L.E. Grant
Apr 1879-1880 Rev. L David Hill
1881-1 Oct 1889 Rev J.M. Burtt
In 1889 they chose 3 trustees to investigate as to the best investment of the legacy of the last Hon Samuel Hanson to the Buxton Centre Baptist Church & Society. The Trustees duly conferred with the Maine Baptist Missionary Convention of Portland and, at a meeting with the Convention held in Portland on 21 Mar, 1889. It was voted that they would deposit the $5000 given to the Corporation to hold, with 4% interest per year, payable to the church twice a year with which to pay the salary of the minister. If the church ceased to exist, they agreed to use the remaining sum to support other Baptist preaching in Maine.
Before coming to Buxton, Rev Turner was pastor in Middleboro, MA and a missionary in Burma for 2 years (3).
Two items of interest appear in the Minutes of the adjourned Meeting of 20 Dec, 1890 - It was voted "to raise the money for rebuilding the church steeple," and "To extend a vote of thanks to Mark P Emery for the gift of a stove for the Church Parlor and all other gifts from him to the Church and Society." (4)
In January, 1896 it was "Voted to employ Mr. EJC Owen, chorister for the ensuing year, his salary to be Twnety five dollars," but in December of that same year, it was necessary to "Extend a vote of thanks to Prof EJC Owen for the kind and efficient service he has rendered the Choir for the past year and (we) as a people regret that the financial condition of the Church and Society cannot retain him in that capacity." Incidentally, at that time the salary of the pastor was "Six hundred dollars and the use of the parsonage and a donation."
1896-1903 Rev William Clements
In 1903 it is interesting to note that it was voted "...that the parish treasurer loan the organ committee twelve dollars to complete paying for the new vestry organ.
1903-1907 Rev. Elmer E Longley (pictured above with his wife)
1907-1912 Rev EE Harris
1912-1916 Rev EE Small
1916-1918 Rev EM Swift
1918 Rev Forrest E Freese
"In May 1918 a Warrant was issued, calling a special meeting "on the 14th day of June 1918 for the purpose of organizing... and becoming an incorporated paris or religious society at Buxton... under the name of The Buxton Centre Baptist Church and Parish." (4)
1919-1921 Rev CW Wilson
On 6 May 1922 they voted to incorporate the church as an independent local church, awarded in April 1930. (4)
Aug 1922 they voted to sell the Jewett property, one of the parsonages, and the one which had been the pastor's home for many years, for $1000 to fund repairs of the remaining parsonage, hopefully to someone who would take an active part in the church. This was realized when Sumner & Melvina Tyler bought it and took an active interest in the church.
Dec 1923 Miss Annie J Gwynne accepted a call to become pastor of the church and became the first pastor to live in the new parsonage. Miss Gwynne remained as pastor until Oct 1925.
Following Miss Gwynne's resignation, the Rev EB Turner was called as pastor.
In 1926 a series of evangelistic services were held at the Church from 28 Nov - 19 Dec, with the Rev Walter Colby s Evangelist. At the church's request, he returned on 26 Dec for another week of meetings. Many people came to Christ, & members reconsecrated themselves to the Lord during this time. (4)
1928 Rev Forrest E Freese
1931 Elliot B Verney
1937-1943 Rev A Wiley Brown
Aug 1942 Buxton Centre Baptist Church & the West Buxton Free Baptist Church met with the District Secretary of Western Maine to consider a pastor to serve both churches. Due to the difficulty in obtaining suitable candidates. It was decided that, though the union of the churches was desirable, each church would continue with its stated supply, at least for the duration of the war. (4)
1943-1955 Rev.. Henry G Clark
On 16 June 1949 Buxton Centre Baptist Church celebrated its 150th birthday with fitting exercises!
Rev John Pendleton delivered the address.
The Rev AW Brown & Mr EB Verney, both former pastors, also spoke briefly.
The Rev & Mrs Walter Colby sang a duet, & Mrs Gertrude Elwell sang a solo.
The Rev Clark, the current pastor, read a brief history of the church.
In 1950 the church was again painted, & a new furnace was purchased.
In 1953 a bequest of $500 was received from the Estate of Miss Alma Porter, which was used toward a new bathroom in the parsonage.
Jan 1960 a check for $1000 was received from Harry Bradbury in memory of his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Bradbury, with the request that it be used for painting the parsonage where they had lived when he was a child. Also in 1960 the belfry was repaired.
In the summer of 1960 Rev Bob Smith was called as pastor for Buxton Centre Baptist Church.
In 1961 a Memorial Organ Fund was instituted and through gifts and pledges, a Baldwin Electric Spint-type Organ was purchased, the old pipe organ was removed from the Choir & Organ Loft, the new organ was installed in its place, and a bronze Memorial Plaque was placed in the front of the Choir Loft. The vestry was redecorated, repaired, a new floor was laid in the Organ & Choir Loft, a cement floor was poured in the vestry, & a furnace was installed in the parsonage.
Sun, 15 July 1962 a special Concert was given at the Buxton Centre Baptist Church by Mr Forrest Perkins, organist of St.Lawrence Congregational Church in Portland, and the new organ was dedicated to the service of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.
On 9 Dec 1962 the congregation was both shocked & grieved to hear their pastor read his letter of resignation. Several candidates from Gofrdon College & elsewhere were heard, and in May 1963 Mr Robert E Gridley accepted the call to the pastorate of the Buxton Centre Baptist Church.
In November 1964 the possibility of sharing a pastor with the West Buxton Free Baptist Church was once again presented to the church by the pastor. A Committee was appointed to work out such a program with a similar Committee from the West Buxton church. After a six-month trial period, it was decided to continue the yoking of the 2 churches for an indefinite period. However, in October 1965, Pastor Grodley resigned from the pastorate here to accept a call to a Massachusetts church.
1965 Rev Lester Holmes
1966 Mr Ronald Surels
In 1966 extensive repairs were made to the parsonage, which included new sills, flooring & ceilings, ,inside doors, paint, & paper.
In April 1966, Mr Matthews, reporting for the Prudential Committee, advised the church that 7 stained glass windows were available for their removal from the former Blue Point Congregational Church. This most generous gift was gratefully accepted and, working together as a team, a group of men from the church removed & crated the windows, transported them from Blue Point to Buxton Centre and, with a Master Carpenter supervising, installed them in the Sanctuary. Later that same year, extensive plans were made for further redecoration of the church Sanctuary; a new dropped ceiling was installed, new lighting fixtures were em-placed, & a new choir loft was built at the front of the church auditorium.
In 1967 the Rev Ronald Hawkins accepted our call for a pastor; however, he remained with us for less than a year as he decided to return to school & felt that it would not be practical to commute between Buxton & Gordon College.
Sep 1968 Don Smith installed as student pastor.
15 Dec 1972 Rev Don Smith ordained at Buxton Centre.
16 Feb 1985 Rev Don Smith married at Buxton Centre.
4 Feb 1996 Rev Don Smith retired after serving the church for 27 years.
The year 1968 saw the beginning of many changes in the church & community. Mr. Donald Smith, a former teacher at Frank Jewett Elementary and S.D. Hanson Elementary, both at Buxton Centre, and at that time a student at Gordon Theological Seminary, was called & accepted the call to serve as pastor of the church while working toward ordination, which occurred in 1972.
The renovation work at the parsonage, begun previously, was completed, & plans were made for a well to be drilled to provide both church & parsonage with an adequate water supply. The small classroom next to the kitchen was remodeled & renovated, with paneled walls & wall-to-wall carpeting, for a Pastor's Sudy.
In 1969 the church kitchen was completely remodeled. (4)
In 1970 ten round tables & necessary chairs were purchased, supplemental to the long tables already in use & thereby enabling us to serve up to 125 at a time for our fellowship suppers.
In 1971 a major step was taken towards the completion of our Redecoration program - new sub-flooring & wall to wall carpeting was installed in the Sanctuary, the old upholstered pews were removed & oak pews were installed. The old black walnut hymnbook holders were placed in the new pews, new hymnbooks were acquired - the majority of these were memorial gifts to the church,, & replicas of the original wrought-iron communion cup holders were obtained & installed in the pews. The walls of the Sanctuary were again freshly painted, & the woodwork was painted or otherwise refinished.
In 1972 the old Baptistry was renovated & fiberglass lined, completing the Redecoration Program as planned for the Sanctuary. A goodly start has also been made towards completion of renovation & redecoration in the vestry. A new dropped ceiling has been installed there & in the nursery, with modern lighting throughout. There were further plans underway for re-papering & painting the nursery & vestry.
While all this was happening within the physical church, they did not neglect the spiritual church. Records over the previous 50 years indicate that well over 100 converts were baptized into the church, & many others had come in by letter. (4)
Some, in turn, have moved away & others have gone from our midst to be with their Lord & Savior. Slowly but steadily, the church, the spiritual church, continued to grow.
"As we come to observe another milestone in the life & Christian Service of this, the Buxton Centre Baptist Church, this centennial of re-dedication, we would ask that God's richest blessing may continue to fall on us for the next 100 years as in the past & that we may unceasingly strive to be worthy of that blessing."
Rev Don Smith always insisted on a Christ-Centered Church, & there was much strength drawn from this fact.
Claudia Treadwell & Penny Booker came up with the idea of a food cupboard, & they worked tirelessly to get this going. Don used to get his "truck driving" in while hauling food from Good Shepard Food bank in Auburn to stock the shelves. This later grew to the size where it moved from teh church into the old town hall & more volunteers got involved.
The members of the church bestowed the title, "Bishop of Buxton" on Rev Don Smith from total respect for the m an & what he had done for the church. When Don decided to retire, there were those of us who questioned our ability to keep the church going, but God just seemed to line up the people in turn to lead the church.
Also of note during Rev Don Smith's tenure he guided Shirley Gerrish to become a minister of the Word of God, licensed by the church first, then in 2002 commissioned. (4)
Rev Jim Key is pictured here with a co-pastor for another church many years later.
The week following Rev Don Smith's retirement Rev Jim Key was installed as our interim pastor while the Pulpit Committee kept their search going for a permanent, full-time pastor. Jim served us faithfully for a full year & on 5 Jan 1997 Rev. David Borger was installed as our new pastor. Jim began pastoring Steep Falls Baptist Church, where he remained for many years. (4)
Rev David Borger pastored Buxton Center Baptist Church from 5 Jan, 1997-2008. Also pictured is his wife, Bobbie.
Dave & Bobbie have proven to be the right people for us. We looked forward to & enjoyed many more years of working together.
The end of the church history document during the tenure of Rev David Borger: "God willing, someone will be writing the new reports for a 300th year celebration, & I hope they have the same type of members & friends that are associated with the church today." (4)
Rev John Haslam was an interim pastor at Buxton Centre Baptist Church. He is now pastor at a church in Scarborough.
Another interim pastor also filled in until Rev Laura (pictured with John above) became our permanent pastor.
The soldiers monument honoring WWII veterans is located on the lawn of Buxton Centre Baptist Church. It was installed by the town of Buxton and is maintained by the Buxton Garden Club.
(1) An address delivered at Buxton, Maine, in the congregational Meeting-House, being the first centennial celebration of the settlement of this Town (Google Books).
(2) History of York County, Maine (Google Books)
(3) History of the town of Middleboro, Massachusetts (Google Books)
(4) Personal knowledge of church attendees/members & photos/documents at the church.
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