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Old Brick Church (part of our past)

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The Old Brick Church

 Prior to 1832, a Congregational society had met in Williston at members’ homes and in “the Old Meeting House” (which was subsequently torn down) until in November of 1831, a “Society for building a Meeting House” was formed. Two hundred, seventy-seven and one-half shares were sold, at $10 apiece, subscribing the pews, allowing $2,800 for construction, $150 for the land and using bricks from Elisha Miller’s yard as his pew-holding share.

In the Burlington Free Press of February 1, 1832 the dedication service of the “Wednesday before” was described. Four ministers took part: one, a local Baptist and others from Milton, Burlington and Jericho.

A description of the building included: “. . . Built with brick, it is of the Gothic order. In the plan and execution, it combines convenience with simple elegance and good taste. The interior is in modern style, the pulpit is very low, the seats are slips and there is only one gallery or orchestra for the choir”.

Largest subscribers were the Chittenden family, with Thomas owning three pews and Truman and Giles, two apiece. Others were Jonathan Spoffard with three, Nathan and Elisha Allen, David and Jonah Talcott, Eber and Joseph Bradley, Rufus and Dana Shaw, Isaac and Joseph French, John, Isaac and Chauncy Smith, Calvin and Berish Murray, and Ebenezer Howard, Seth Stowbridge, Levi Thatcher, Norman Sheppard, David Bates, Thomas Barney, Linas Atwater, Caleb Taylor, John Beach and Elisha Miller.

The building was renovated in 1860 with the present colors but with papered walls and probably new pews. Thirteen ministers served between 1832 and 1899, when federation with the Methodists moved services to the larger Federated Church and the building was closed.

During the early 1900’s a few services were held, but it was not until the Youth Group of the Federated Church obtained permission in 1963 that it was cleaned again and two vesper services held in 1964 and 1965.

Ownership was given to the Town of Williston from the Federated Church and the building was accepted by the National Register as an Historic Site.

Town funds renovated the cellar for community use and funding from Historic Sites has restored the exterior and sanctuary, while a grant for the steeple restoration was given by the Eva Gebhart-Gourgaux Foundation.

Currently, elected trustees are responsible for the operation of the building. Rental use for meetings and weddings pay for its upkeep; scheduling is done by one of the trustees. Town committees and local non profits use the building without charge.

 

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