United Church of Christ
First Congregational Church
6 PAYSON HILL ROAD
RINDGE, NH 03461
Way Back When
by Margaret Morabito, Church Historian
Tithing Men 1766-1835 Continued
Regarding policing the church services, tithing men have come to be well-known for their methods in keeping congregants awake and quieting rowdy children. Known by some as a “sleep-banisher”, a tithing man would typically carry a long staff with a large knob at one end and a long fox tail or rabbit’s foot at the other end. To awaken a man or to quiet a rowdy boy, he would hit him with the knob. To awaken a lady, he would swipe her with the fox tail or rabbit’s foot. These days, thanks to Reverend David’s lively services, there is no need for tithing men, even if they were still around.
In Rindge, the position of tithing man was voted upon annually up through 1835 and then it was discontinued. There are many stories written about tithing men, if you are interested in delving further into this church action figure.
(Sources consulted are Stearn’s History of Rindge, New Hampshire 1736-1874; New Hampshire Glossary: Tithing-man at www.cowhampshireblog.com/2007/04/05/new-hampshire-glossary-tithing-man; United States History at www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1164.html; The Tithingman and the Sleepers at www.fullbooks.com/Sabbath-in-Puritan-New-England1.html; Saxon tithing-men in America at www.archive.org/stream/saxontithingmeni00adamrich;and the Rindge Historical Society.)