Three Hundredth Anniversary Opens At Congregational Church With Most Impressive Exercises

Hampton Union, Thursday, August 25, 1938

Sunday ushered in a beautiful day on which to observe the opening of the 300th Celebration of the founding of the Hampton Colony. Hundreds of visitors besides the townspeople were on hand at 9:30 a. m. when the dedicatory service on Meeting House Green began. It was the site of the first place of worship in the town and from there the members of the congregation, dressed in colonial costumes, marched to the First Congregational Church, where a unique service was held carrying out in every detail the services held there over 200 years ago.

The procession formed in twos and marched to the church headed by two armed men who successfully defended the worshipers from an Indian raid. At the church Samuel Towle, Cyrus Clark, Harold Perkins and Chester Marston were stationed with long barreled muskets and kept the hostile Indians away from the church

A "bull fiddle" was played by Ely Aiken as Arthur Waldron in the role of preceptor lined out the Psalm hymns, the audience turning and facing the choir in the gallery at the rear as was the old time custom. Rev. Herbert Walker took charge of the services and read the descriptions of the former pastors. Dean Merrill and Lester Perkins acted as tithing men to keep the nodding listeners awake.

In the roles of early ministers, Rev. J. E. Prescott of Hampton Falls gave the opening prayer, Rev. Robert G. Armstrong of Concord secretary of the N. H. Congregational and Christian churches, gave the "long prayer," Rev. Edgar Warren read the scripture and Rev. Hawthorne H. Benedict of Hampton Falls gave the benediction.

Varied costumes of rare and valuable materials were worn by members of the audience. An amplifying system carried the program to those who were unable to gain admittance.

The sermon preached by Rev. Nathaniel Gookin, November 1, 1727, was read by Rev. Floyd G. Kinsley who has been chosen minister of the church to succeed Rev. Herbert Walker. In the sermon, reference was made to an earthquake which shook Hampton with great force, predicted a short time before by the pastor.

On the communion table at the front of the church was the first set of silver beakers fashioned by John Cony, Boston si1versmith, in 1713, together with four other beakers made in 1744. Not long ago the church refused an offer of $25,000 for the set from Yale University. These have been so carefully guarded that few have seen these historic relics.

John Hayden, Edward Davidson, Wayne Ramsden and Richard Rice dressed in costumes of the ancient times, acted as ushers. The hour glass reposed on the pulpit which was the original pulpit of the church and restored to its original appearance when the church was remodeled.

Judge John W. Perkins was escorted to the platform at the close of the service, when he made several announcements of events to come and extended invitations to everyone to enjoy the week of festivities.

John F. Marston, the oldest man in Hampton who has passed his ninetieth year, was escorted to the platform. Mrs. Oliver H. Godfrey, the second oldest woman in town was present in her wedding dress.

The hymn "0 God Our Help in Ages Past" closed the service.