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NEW FOUNDATIONS

The troubles on the Saint John River during the Revolutionary War seem to have demoralized the church at Maugerville, and it was found necessary to renew the church covenant in 1779.

Moses Coburn and Daniel Jewett being active in the affairs of the community served on the panel of jurors in the courts of Sunbury County. Their names appear on the jury lists of the Grand and Petit Juries for 1786, 1787 and 1788.

In 1786, Moses Coburn, John Watson and David Burpee acting as agents and trustees for the Church at Maugerville petitioned the Government for land for a parsonage.

The end of the American Revolution in 1783 and the sudden influx of Loyalist settlers to the Saint John River Valley drastically changed the lives of the Maugerville people. There was some friction between the newcomers who had remained loyal to the British Crown and had lost all for their King and constitution, and the old settlers who, as a rule had only been kept from open rebellion by fear.

Word of the friction between the new and old settlers of Maugerville reached the Rev. Seth Noble, now a minister in Brewer Maine where he and some of his followers settled after their part in the uprisings in Nova Scotia during the early years of the Revolution. In September of 1784 he wrote to the Maugerville church asking for his salary for the seven years he had been absent. he also endeavoured to alarm the former members of his flock by citing the growth of immorality due to the arrival of the new settlers and persuade them to move to Maine and live under Republican institutions. The church stood firm refusing to recognize his claim and to move to Maine.

The Loyalists brought with them improved opportunities for public worship. In the winter of 1783-84 the Rev. John Sayer a loyalist clergyman of the Church of England preached in the Maugerville meeting house. He died the following summer. He was followed by the Rev. John Beardsley, a New York clergyman and under his ministry the Church of England settlers erected their own church.

On June 1st, 1783, two missionaries, Messrs James and Milton arrived in Maugerville. They had been sent from England by the Countess of Huntington. The Maugerville settlers warmly welcomed them and set about at once to make provision for their board and lodging.

SUBSCRIPTION FOR REV. MESSRS. JAMES AND MILTON

The Congregational Church at Maugerville was the first Protestant church on the Saint John River. Around 1788 there was a dispute over the land on which the church stood. The congregation met and decided to move the building to a public lot in Sheffield where the United Church of Sheffield now stands.

At a meeting of the Subscribers for the support of the Preached Gospel held at the meeting house in Sheffield on the 15th Day of December 1738 --Chose Mr. Daniel Jewett Chairman

2ndly. Voted that the meeting house be set on the public lot in sheffield.

3rdly Voted to remove the meeting house in maugerville to the public lot in Sheffield if the proprietor thereof consent thereto

4thly. Chose Messrs Nathan Smith Silvanus Plumer Eben Biggs Elijah Dingee and Jacob Barker Esq managers to remove the same.

The task of moving the meeting house to its new site was a major undertaking. It involved the entire efforts of the community Daniel Jewett, Hoses Coburn, and his son Stephen were active in assisting with the move and repairs to the building.

"...Mar 4 1789 Account of work at making tar road in order to move the meeting house.... Mr Jewett 2 yoke oxen....Mar 7 hr. Coburn 2 days,... March 9th r Coburn 2 days, ... March 11 ... Mr. Coburn 2 days, 1 oxen,... March 24 Gitting timber for the steeple .... Stephen Coburn 1 day, ... March 25 .. Nos. Coburn 1 day, 1 oxen, ...March 27 ... Mos. Coburn 1 day, ... March 30 ... Fir. Jewett 1 man, 2 oxen, ...hr Colburn 1 man, 2. oxen. ... work on raising steeple. April 22 ... Mr Colburn 1 man ... nos. Coburn 1 man. April 25 ... Mos. Colburn 1 man ... hr. Colburn 1 man. ... April 28 Er. Colburn 1 man, ... Stephen Colburn 1 man. ... tar. Jewett 4 ... April 30 the day the steeple was raised 1 Mr. Jewett .... hauling stone for the mitting house. ... Daniel Jewett one load. Raising stone; Samuel Woodworth and Coburn. "

"....Accounts in connection with erection of the meeting house."

Mr. Coburn work£4. 14: 4½
paid by Mr. Coburn4: 0: 0
8: 14: 4½
  
11½ Days work by Mr. Jewett in 1789 £1 :8:9

The Saint John Gazette and Weekly Advertiser of march 20, 1789 gives the following account of the moving operations of the church from Maugerville to the lot in Sheffield.

On Tuesday 10 instant by the join exertions of the inhabitants of Maugerville and Sheffield was removed entire, a large building erected by Protest-ant Dissenters, for the purpose of Divine worship, to the distance of three miles. Its dimensions are 40 feet in length, 36 feet in breadth, and 22 feet in height. This huge fabric coming down the River Saint John, on the Ice, hailed by 60 yokes of Oxen, attended by some 200 people among whom were a number of Ladies in slays who greeted the Phenomenon with their presence, made a noble appearance; The design was executed to the general satisfaction of every beholder.

Another writer of the day gives further details of the move:

"The whole settlement, men, horses, and more than one hundred yoke of oxen, were present to assist in the enterprise. The chapel was raised from its stone foundation by immense lever screws. Prodigious beams of timber were then introduced under the whole length of the building; into these were driven large staples to which the oxen were yoked with strong chains of iron. When all things were ready at a given signal, each man standing by Alt horse or oxen, this great building capable of holding eight hundred persons was drawn down the river to the appointed place where another foundation having been prepared, it was again raised by levers upon it with very little damage. Not a single pew was removed in the process. Perhaps you will wonder how the ice of this mighty river bore upon its bosom so ponderous a body but your surprise will cease when I inform you that in depth of winter it is from two to three feet in thickness making a bridge of aqueous crystal capable of almost bearing up a whole town."

In June 1769 the Rev. John James became their settled minister. Later that year in September the congregation once again renewed the church covenant. The ministry of the Rev. Mr. James ended in 1792 after a series of troubles culminating with the accusations of "scandalous Indecencies in his behaviour not fit to be named among Christians" brought against him by Mary Coy. In March 1792 he left the congregational Church at Maugerville and together with a number of followers joined the Church of England.