Opposition to a new meeting house came mainly from a few of the pew owners who had already paid for their pews in the old meeting house and who did not want to lose their investment. To avoid a long delay, the town took drastic measures. It was decided to hand over the First Meeting House to the pew owners so that they would stop complaining.
The building was actually moved to a different location, beside the old pound, located nearby on Payson Hill Road, on the opposite side of the road from the current town office building. You can still see the stone walls of the pound there today, amid the overgrowth. The pew owners apparently did not cherish their pews after the church building was relegated to minor importance, and eventually the First Meeting House was sold for timber. Much of the timber (oak) was used to reframe a barn belonging to Charles A. Wilder, who lived on Goddard Road, beyond the current Hillside Cemetery, on the left. The barn is no longer there. I have also read that some timber and paneling were built into the current Ed Stevens house on West Main Street. So, now you know what happened to the First Meeting House.
(Sources consulted are Stearn’s History of Rindge, New Hampshire 1736-1874; Colonial Meeting-Houses of New Hampshire by Speare; The Worship of the American Puritans by Davies; A Building History of Northern New England by Garvin; The First Congregational Church & Society 1765-1965 bicentennial booklet; town maps from 1858 and 1877; and the Rindge Historical Society.)
6 PAYSON HILL ROAD
RINDGE, NH 03461
First Congregational Church
United Church of Christ
Way Back When
by Margaret Morabito, Church Historian
What Happened To The First Meeting House? Continued