Early Religious History of the Bucksport area
Perhaps these rather strange facts concerning the early religious history of Bucksport may be of interest to the reader. Until 1953 there had never been a Baptist church in this town, yet, the first man to preach here was Abraham Cummings (1755-1827) a Baptist preacher, though they were as scarce at that time as the proverbial teeth of a hen. The first meeting house built in Bucksport was Methodist, in the upper part of town known as "Couliard's ferry". John Henney was the preacher.
Earlier, Jessie Lee, an itinerant Methodist preacher, coming East encountered the
Penobscot River up Hampden way. To get across with his horse appeared to be a
problem. It was solved by standing his horse in two flat bottomed boats, his forward
feet in one and his rear feet in the other, while being rowed across. Some horse!
(This fact gleaned from Minton Thrift's "Life of Jessie Lee".
In 1803 Mighill Blood came to Buckstown (the name was changed in 1817) as the first
Congregational minister. He lived later where Blanch Daigle used to live. The
Congregational church was organized the next year, composed of six members. He
continued as pastor until 1840 but lived in Bucksport until his death in 1852. Their
first meetinghouse was erected on Seminary hill in 1813. When the faithful tired of
climbing "Zion's Hill" in the winter it was decided to move the church building.
This was accomplished by building a trestle-like bridge over the tops of the
gravestones in the cemetery below and moving it to where the Public Safety Building is now located. Later when the new church had been built on Elm street, this building, used as a town hall, burned. It is said that Fred Forsythe, living in the
neighborhood, gave the alarm.
Mrs. Jonathan Buck (Lydia) and son Jonathan (Jr.) were some of the earliest members
of the Congregational church in Buck's town, however, according to the Buck
geneology, available to the reader at the town library, they, along with six others,
left to join a new church in Orland which was called "The Baptist Church of
Buckstown and Orland". It is recorded that they had joined the former church "for
convenience sake only", as they had both been baptized by Hezekiah Smith, pastor of the first Baptist church in Haverhill, Massachusetts, before coming to this "howling waste wilderness" to join our illustrious founder in making their home here on the pristine banks of the Penobscot. The church in Orland, pastored for a while by a grandson of Buck, survived for only a few decades. To the writer's knowledge there has been no organized Baptist church in the area since that time until the founding of The Evangelical Baptist church here in l953. (Recently renamed, The Bucksport Bible Church)
How It All Happened