United Church of Christ
Way Back When
by Margaret Morabito, Church Historian
Seth Payson, Our Second
Settled Pastor 1780-1820 Continued
First Congregational Church
6 PAYSON HILL ROAD
RINDGE, NH 03461
Reverend Payson was a versatile man. He was experienced in politics, having served as a member of the New Hampshire State Senate from 1802 to 1804. Dr. Payson was a founder of New Ipswich Academy; a trustee of Dartmouth College; and in 1815, represented the General Association of New Hampshire at the Ecclesiastical Convention held in Philadelphia. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Payson also served on the first school committee in Rindge; served on a town committee whose aim was the restoration of peace during the War of 1812; provided input on the general provisions for the original constitution of The First Congregational Church and Society; and encouraged the building of the Second Meeting House (our current building) by offering to buy a bell if the Meeting House was built within a specified time period.
During Reverend Payson’s term as pastor, the church membership grew by 231 and about 450 children were baptized. Dr. Payson built and owned the house in which he lived, which was then on 30 acres. After his death, his son sold the property to the town. It was then turned over to our church and is still used as our parsonage today, with Reverend David and his family currently enjoying the heritage of Dr. Payson.
Dr. Reverend Payson served as our settled pastor until his death in 1820. It is interesting to note that we have in our congregation today one of his descendents: David Payson.
(Sources consulted are Stearn’s History of Rindge, New Hampshire 1736-1874; Open Library at www.openlibrary.org; Providence Baptist Ministries at www.pbministries.org; and the Rindge Historical Society.)