History

Probably the first “Baptist” in Hampton Falls was Betsey Fifield Dodge, who was converted under the preaching of Rev. Elias Hull.  In 1816 Rev. William Hooper, pastor at Exeter, preached in Mr. Dodge's house what is said to be the first discourse ever delivered by a Baptist in Hampton Falls.

From this time, Mr. Dodge's house became a place of resort for Baptist ministers, and so continued during his lifetime and that of his son, George H. Dodge.  It also became the place for Baptist preaching until the erection of the academy building, in 1834.  Here services were held by distinguished Baptists.  It is said that Elder Peak, a noted Baptist evangelist, preached about one hundred times in this house.  Dudley Dodge died in 1834, at the age of 62 and his wife, Betsey Fifield, died in 1855, at the age of 85.

In the fall of 1828, the following persons were dismissed from the Baptist church in Exeter to constitute what was then called the Baptist Church in Seabrook and Hampton Falls: Dudley Dodge, Mary Dodge (wife and sister of  Richard, who was a nephew of Dudley).

These persons, all relatives of Dudley and Betsey Dodge, together with Hannah Down Ruth and Lydia Brown and Anna Knowles of Seabrook constituted themselves into a Baptist church at the house of Richard Dodge, on the evening of October 28, 1828, and at that time invited Rev. T.P. Ropes to become their pastor.  At a meeting held in the brick school house in Seabrook, November 24, they received Huldah Gove to their fellowship.  On the morning of December 2, at the house of Richard Dodge, they received Mrs. Sally Chase and Mrs. Elizabeth Green, and in the afternoon of the same day the church was recognized and Mr. Ropes installed as their pastor by a council of ministers and delegates from neighboring Baptist churches.  These services were held in the old meeting house in Seabrook, built in 1763, and first occupied by the Presbyterians until 1799, then by the Congregationalists and by the Baptists in 1828.  From the fall of 1828 to the fall of 1834, they continued to worship in Seabrook, then in the New Academy.

The meeting house in Hampton Falls was opened for service in September, 1836; dimensions, forty and a half by fifty-five feet; cost, $2,117.58.  In the summer of 1859 it was repaired and improved at an expense of $2,000.00.  The roof was then slated, the tower replaced by a spire, the high singing gallery over the entrance taken down,  the pulpit lowered, the walls frescoed, floor carpeted the pews upholstered.  The committee was George H. Dodge, John W. Dodge, and Nathan Brown.  Rev. Mr. Ropes, a connection of Dudley Dodge, continued as pastor from September 1828, to April 1830.  At that early date, Mr. Ropes was a strong temperance advocate, while some of the ministers were still addicted to the use of intoxicating drink.  In 1836, this church was reported as "strictly a temperance church."  After the departure of  Mr. Ropes, the church candidated for about two years; then Rev. Oliver Barron was pastor for about a year; then Calvin Monroe and Rev. James W. Poland supplied for about two years. 

Rev. Samuel Cook was pastor from May, 1835, to April, 1838.  During his ministry the meeting-house was built and the membership nearly doubled.  He was followed by Rev. Otis Wing, who resigned in December, 1840.  From August 1841 until April 1842, the pulpit was supplied by Mr. J.C. Foster.  In May 1842, Rev. O.O. Stearns, preceptor of the academy, took charge of the church until obliged by ill health to leave in July 1843.  Rev. A. Briggs officiated for four months, and in November 1843, Rev. Zebulon Jones commenced the longest pastorate, remaining until the summer of 1851.  During his ministry, twenty-six were added to the church.  In September 1851, Rev. John E. Wood, previously pastor of the Methodist Church in Exeter, was baptized here by Rev. James French, and installed as pastor of this church, which he served until April 1853.

After Rev. Wood, the first pastor,  T.P. Ropes, supplied for one year.  Rev. Samuel Emmons Brown, previously a minister of the Christian denomination, took charge of the church in October, 1854, and remained until September, 1856, when he left against the wishes of all the people.  After an interval of seven months, Mr. E.B. Law came, and was ordained October 28, 1857, and remained until August 1858.  During his stay, the membership reached ninety-eight.  During the summer of 1859, the meeting house was closed for repairs, and in June of that year twenty-one members were dismissed to form the Seabrook Baptist church.  In October 1859, Rev. Alfred Colburn took charge of the church, in addition to his duties as preceptor of the academy,  and remained until May, 1863.  Mr.. Colburn was followed immediately by Rev. F.K. Stratton, a Methodist preacher, who supplied most admirably until March 1864.  Rev. William H. Walker, came in May, 1864, and served as pastor until April 1867.  Rev. John M. Driver served as pastor from July, 1867 to October 1868.

Just here occurs the darkest period in the history of this church.  With the exception of twelve Sabbaths supply by Rev. Otis wing, the church remained closed until October, 1870, a period of two years and three months.  At this time a Mr. Moulton, a licensed preacher from Jefferson, N.H., came and volunteered his services, and remained until January.  From that time until August, 1872, the church was supplied by students from Newton Theological Seminary, principally by J.T. Burkoe and H.H. Beaman.  Among other students who supplied were George Churchill and Rufus Sanford, who became missionaries in India, and Frederick Erileth and B.P. Cross who went to Burma.  In August, 1872, H.H. Beaman became the joint pastor of the Hampton Falls, and Seabrook Churches, and so continued until April, 1876.  After that he preached for three moths at Hampton Falls, where he was ordained October, 2, 1872, and had resided during his joint ministry.  Rev. T.J. Burgess was settled as pastor in September, 1876, at a salary of five hundred dollars and house rent.  After him came Rev. C.R. Bailey until 1889, then Rev. W.W. Wakeman from 1890 to 1897.   He was followed by Rev. Mr. Small, Rev. C.A. Parker, and Rev. G.S. Campbell.


Pastors of First Baptist Church Hampton Falls

1915

4/1919 - 1924

11/1924 - 5/1932

7/1932 - 1/1939

8/1939 - 3/1943

6/1943 - 10/1945

11/1945 - 5/1947

9/1947 - 10/1961

- 12/1962

1/1963 - 6/1967

9/1967 - 2/1969

7/1969 - 8/1973

1/1974 - 6/1974

7/1974 - 10/1976

10/1976 - present

8/1985 - 11/1992

9/19/1994 - 2006

6/01/2000 - 11/2009

12/01/06 - present

12/03/07 - 3/2009

G. Stewart Campbell

Charles A. Parker

J. Chester Hyde

Donald B. Weymouth

Harry L. Smith

Milton Baker

David S. Kimball

Everett R. Scruton

Dr. William Lane

Carlyle Saylor

Paul Ferrin

Frank DeFalco

Dr. Robert Fillinger

Dr. Peter W. Stine

Rev. Dr. Kenneth G. Lawrence, Senior Pastor

William Fisher, Associate Pastor

Jeffrey Hastings, Youth Pastor

Rev. Dean R. Glover, Outreach and Mentoring Pastor

Rev. Dan Odom, Education Pastor

Anton Reginald, Youth Pastor


Back to top

Designed By: Whalley Computer Associates
Maintained By: HFFBC