Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: The Presbyterian Schism, 1792-1807

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Candidating

Almost immediately after the funeral services of the late pastor, the people began to confer about obtaining another minister. A town meeting was held on the 1st of October, 1792, for the double purpose of making some provision for the bereaved family, and of providing for the supply of the pulpit. The action taken on the former subject may be found in the last chapter. In relation to the latter, the town appointed the three deacons, Dow, Lane and Lamprey, and Capt. Morris Hobbs, to apply to Mr. Isaac Smith to preach the next four Sabbaths, unless Mr. Shaw [Rev. Jeremiah Shaw, pastor of the church in Moultonborough -- a native of Hampton, expected here to visit friends.] should come down seasonably that week to preach the next Sabbath; and also to invite Mr. Nathaniel Thayer, the eldest son of their late minister, to preach "two Sabbaths next after the expiration of the said four Sabbaths."

Whether Mr. Smith preached, agreeably to the invitation, is uncertain, though rather probable. After three of those Sabbaths were passed, the people observed a day of fasting and prayer, according to the custom of the times. Mr. Thayer preached the two Sabbaths specified, but other engagements prevented him from remaining longer, as it was then term-time at Harvard College, where he was tutor.

At an adjourned meeting, some changes were made in the committee for supplying the pulpit. Dea. Dow was dropped, and Maj. Josiah Dearborn and Col. Jonathan Garland were added. The committee were instructed to apply to Mr. Thayer to preach here during the college vacation, which would commence on the first Wednesday in January, and in the meantime to have the desk supplied by others.

Mr. Thayer again occupied the pulpit, agreeably to the desire of the town, and in February, 1793, received from the church and town a call to be settled in the work of the ministry, as successor to his revered father. The call, however, was not unanimous on the part of the church or the town. Of the former body, he received about four-fifths of the votes; and of the latter, 95 out of 140. Sixty-one persons, immediately after the vote had been taken by the town, and ten on the second of April following, entered their dissent, declaring that they were not satisfied with the preaching of Mr. Thayer, and that they wished to hear other candidates. They also avowed their determination not to do anything for his support, unless compelled by law. Mr. Thayer declined the call, and the next autumn was settled as pastor of the church in Lancaster, Mass., where he remained through life.

The next person invited to the pastorate was Mr. Daniel Dana; but the vote in this case not being unanimous, though the number in opposition was not large, Mr. Dana thought it not prudent to accept the invitation. A large portion of his subsequent life was spent in the ministry in Newburyport, where he died at an advanced age.

Mr. Jonathan Brown next appears as a candidate, and the town voted by a small majority, to invite him to settle here. When the subject was brought before the church, a considerable majority was found to be against him. Hence he could not be settled according to Congregational usage.

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