BRINGING the PRESENCE of the PAST into the PRESENT
  

  
In this corner of the New Hampton Connection we invite you to “connect” with our town’s rich history. Featured below is an original receipt for $71 for one of the pews in the Town House (here called “the New Meeting House”) as purchased in January of 1798 by Ebenezer Sanborn (1768-1818) of New Hampton.
  

  

New Hampton Janry 5th* 1798

Received of Ebenezer Sanborn the sum of Seventy one Dollars/in the whole in full for a Pew in the New Meeting house which/Pew is Numbered Twelve on the original plan of said
Meetinghouse said pew to be completed workman like/and fit for Delivery within Two years and Eight Months from this date
Witness our hands
                                                            Thos Simpson
                                                            Benj Smith Jr
                                                            Wm B. Kelly
                                                            Josiah Magoon
                                                            Jereh Marston

Committee for Building
said Meeting House

  

  

  
While there are no longer pews in the Town House, the next time you come to vote we invite you to pause (if not sit) and reflect on all the meetings, greetings, sermons, prayers, smiles, laughter, gossip and political debate carried on within its walls for over 220 years.



  

  

  


Along with the receipt are a series of three “duplicate” notes for payments on the pew for $17.75, dated “May next,” “first day of October 1799,” and “last day of May 1800.”
The text reads:
  
New Hampton Janry 5th* 1798
I Ebenezer Sanborn as principal and Stephen Smith as surety promise to pay Jere Marston Benjamin Smith Jun. William B. Kelly Josiah Magoon and Thomas Simpson the sum of seventeen Dollars and seventy five cents the same to be paid by the first day of May next they being a committee for Building a Meetinghouse it being For value Received per as witness our hands ---
  
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As noted in Wikipedia: “New Hampton was incorporated in 1777, and its early town meetings were apparently held in local homes or barns. The town voted in 1798 to appropriate funds for the construction of a meeting house, which was also to be funded by the sale of pews. By 1799 the building was sufficiently complete to house town meetings.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampton_Town_House 

Kent Bicknell
Historian, NHHS
2019.02.20